Women to the front: how Fairtrade addresses gender equity
Government subsidies keep the world price of cotton artificially low. We work with cooperatives of small-scale farmers so that they can earn sustainable incomes.
I am very thankful to Chetna Organic for the training I got on organic farming. Apart from my duty in my field of work, I have also become a support for my family. I am performing well as a leader of the women’s community, which has created a strong bond with other women.KAMALINI NAYAK
COTTON PRODUCER, INDIA
Cotton is the most widely used natural fibre in the textile sector. Production is dominated by industrial-scale farms in a handful of countries whose governments can afford to protect their markets with subsidies. This means that millions of small-scale farmers in places like West Africa and India are often unable to effectively contribute to supply chains, or earn enough to cover their costs of production, let alone make a living income.
In addition, conventional cotton growing is linked to severe environmental issues – it requires the extensive use of harsh chemicals and vast amounts of water, even more so with climate change affecting harvests.
Fairtrade seeks to improve the prospects of small-scale farmers by creating access to supply chains and markets for their cotton. Our Standards encourage more traditional farming practices, focusing on organic production. Both the Fairtrade Minimum Price and the Fairtrade Premium for cotton, as well as targeted support and training for producers, are aimed at helping producer organizations to become stronger and more resilient businesses.
Since the introduction of Fairtrade cotton, we’ve also aimed to address the unsafe and unfair labour conditions in cotton processing and textile factories. In 2016, Fairtrade introduced the new Fairtrade Textile Standard and Program to reach people at all stages of the textile production chain – from seed cotton to finished garments.
This film explores where cotton comes from and some of the difficulties faced along the supply chain. It helps people understand the impacts of fast fashion and highlights the difference consumers can make to people’s lives through their buying choices.
We’re proud to work with Canadian companies who choose to source Fairtrade. Now you can support your local brands dedicated to making trade fair by shopping Fairtrade local.
Fairtrade can make a real difference for farmers and workers, their families, and their wider communities.
Chetna Organic Agriculture Producer Company Ltd (COAPCL) is a part of Project Chetna, a development initiative aimed at improving the lives of smallholder and marginalized cotton farmers in different rain-fed cotton growing regions in India.
Learn more with these recent stories about Fairtrade cotton: