Solidaridad, Cotton made in Africa, Danish Ethical Trading Initiative and MVO Nederland have started a new project – Bottom UP, to promote a sustainable cotton and garment value chain, from Ethiopian cotton to European consumers. The project will be officially launched at the upcoming international conference on cotton, textile & apparel value chain in Africa.
The growing interest of international brands to source garments from Ethiopia provides an opportunity to develop the sector in a sustainable way. That is why Solidaridad, Cotton made in Africa, Danish Ethical Trading Initiative (DIEH) and MVO Nederland (CSR Netherlands) with the support of the EU start a project in Ethiopia to create a sustainable, transparent and inclusive value chain. The project aims to benefit 2,000 cotton farmers, 2,200 rural workers and 17,000 garment workers.
The Solidaridad Network’s main objective is facilitating the development of socially responsible, ecologically sound and profitable supply chains. The Danish Ethical Trading Initiative was established in 2008 and has grown into a strong organisation that operates across a range of sectors. The Cotton made in Africa initiative has set itself the goal since 2005 to sustainably improve the living conditions of cotton farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. CSR Netherlands / MVO Nederland is the Centre of Excellence for Dutch companies that are striving towards corporate social responsibility.
“The cotton and garments industry is the second most important growth sector for the Ethiopian government. However, a number of current challenges are hampering the projected growth of the industry and question the reputation of being a sustainable sourcing destination. The lack of a minimum wage that can ensure decent living conditions for workers is for example a major concern. Wages reported are as low as $26 per month which is far below the World Bank poverty line,” Solidaridad Network said in a press release.
The aim of the Bottom UP project is to contribute to a value chain that generates business growth, improves working conditions, promotes labour and environmental standards and responsible purchasing practices in the cotton and textiles industry in Ethiopia and Europe by 2021.
“To achieve this, the partners will provide trainings and technical support to cotton farmers, commercial farms and ginneries to comply with sustainable practices and standards. They will facilitate direct links between European brands and Ethiopian factories for the uptake of sustainable cotton and provide technical support to factories to adopt sustainable practices. Additionally, potential international buyers will be informed about the opportunities and barriers for sourcing garments from Ethiopia and matchmaking sessions will be organised. Eventually a consumer campaign in Europe will be conducted, to raise awareness on the issues in the garment industry, but also on positive developments,” the release added.