Cotton is everywhere. You can find products made with cotton in everyday products you use - your clothes, your bedsheets, your furniture, and more. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA),
“Cotton is one of the most important textile fibers in the world, averaging about 25 percent of total world fiber use.”
According to Fairtrade International, about 100 million rural households are involved in cotton production in more than 75 countries worldwide. With the goal of increasing yields and incomes farmers are planting Genetically Modified Seeds (GMOs). However, in fact, “they are tied into buying expensive seeds and pesticides each year from multinational companies amid concerns that yields actually decline after initial gains.” This isn’t conventionally grown cottons’ only problem. In fact, United States Department of Labor reported that child labor and forced labor is used in 17 countries to process cotton. You can find the list of other goods that use child or forced labor HERE.
By the time final product reaches to the customers, farmers are forgotten. They have little power in the supply chain. That is why Fairtrade Certification matters and your purchase of products made with Fairtrade Cotton makes a difference in farmers lives.
Through our partnership with Fairtrade, we work with farmers from small cooperatives in India. Fairtrade Standards protect farmers’ health and safety, and encourages and empowers them to protect the natural environment. Fairtrade standard also prohibits the use of child labor. The benefits of Fairtrade go beyond just extra income for farmers – they also address issues like Gender Equality and Climate Change.
How do Fairtrade Cotton farmers benefit when you purchase Fairtrade certified products?
On top of the price farmers and workers receive for their produce or labor, they receive an extra sum of money to invest in improving the quality of their lives
“When you opt for Fairtrade cotton goods you are empowering small-scale farmers and pushing the industry to become sustainable.”
The Fairtrade Minimum Price is the price minimum farmers are paid when selling their goods through Fairtrade. It’s goal is cover the average costs of sustainably producing their goods and is a safety net when market prices drop. Producers can get the market price when this is higher and can always negotiate for more.
Producers receive a Fairtrade Premium
The Fairtrade Premium is an extra sum of money paid on top of the selling price that farmers or workers invest in projects of their choice. The workers decide together how to spend the Fairtrade Premium to reach their goals, for example, improving their businesses, farming, or education and health in their community.
Fairtrade Standards protect producers rights
The Fairtrade Standards are the guidelines that producers and the businesses who buy their goods have to meet for a product to be Fairtrade certified. The Standards ensure fairer terms of trade between farmers and buyers, protect workers’ rights, and provide the framework for producers to build thriving farms and organizations.