Social, Environmental, and Economic Sustainability

Our work is built on the three pillars of sustainability, which form the core of Cotton made in Africa’s standard:

  1. People: CmiA supports smallholder farmers, working to promote gender equality, dignified labour conditions, and respect for the rights of children
  2. Planet: CmiA is committed to protecting soil, water, biodiversity, the climate, and the environment, including by banning the use of genetically modified organisms and reducing the negative effects of crop protection.
  3. Prosperity: CmiA facilitates access to high-quality equipment and is actively helping improve productivity, fibre quality, and overall living conditions.

Smallholder Cotton Farming in Africa

Cotton plays a key role in the fight against poverty, as, in many countries in the region, fully half of the income earned by smallholder farmers and their families comes from selling cotton. However, cotton’s great potential for achieving economic development and poverty reduction has so far not been fully realised because of the many challenges farmers face: fluctuating global market prices, low productivity, and poor infrastructure in cotton-producing countries. This is the context that led to the founding of the Aid by Trade Foundation and its Cotton made in Africa initiative.

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Prof. Dr. Michael Otto
Founder

“Africa is close to my heart—both personally and as an entrepreneur.”

The Board of Trustees

The Aid by Trade Foundation’s Board of Trustees comprises an international group of leading figures both from public and private businesses and from non-governmental organisations. It is the foundation’s supervisory body with at least six and at most twelve members, and it is chaired by Prof. Dr. Michael Otto and his deputy, Dr. Wolfgang Jamann (International Civil Society Center).

New members are nominated by the foundation’s executives and appointed by the Board of Trustees for two-year terms with the potential for reappointments. The foundation’s directors report to the Board of Trustees on its activities and plans twice a year.

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PROF. DR. MICHAEL OTTO
Chairman of the Board of Trustees / Chairman of Supervisory Board Otto Group

“Cotton made in Africa is innovative, because it activates market forces and creates an ongoing win-win situation for all players at all stages of the value chain – from cotton farmers to consumers.”

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DR. WOLFGANG JAMANN
Deputy Chairman of the Board of Trustees / Executive Director International Civil Society Centre

“I am pleased to be a member of the Board of Trustees of CmiA, because I firmly believe that the only way to overcome hunger and poverty in Africa is for NGOs to work alongside government development organisations, companies and businesses, in accordance with social and environmental criteria, for active support to smallholder farmers in the third world. It is also vital for us to change our behaviour as consumers; production and purchasing of clothing made from CmiA cotton is a great opportunity for us to do that. The work in the foundation is an enrichment because we are working across the dividing lines of the various sectors, and getting into discussion with one another.”

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EBERHARD BRANDES
Managing Director WWF Germany

“Our goal is to stop the global destruction of natural resources and the environment, and to create a future where humankind and nature can live together in harmony. What we want is effective action for conservation of nature and protection of the environment, coupled with sustainable development of the African countries – that is why we are promoting sustainable business activities. Cotton made in Africa is designed both to link cotton farmers in Africa and consumers in Europe via trade, and to ensure sustainable management of the land.”

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DR. MARIA FLACHSBARTH
Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

„Promoting sustainability across global supply chains is a central theme in Germany’s development cooperation. Efforts to improve the situation of people and of the environment need to begin at the start of the chain, in the cotton field. This is the only way to make globalisation fair. That is why the BMZ has been supporting the work of Cotton made in Africa since its creation, all with the aim of promoting sustainable development in African countries.“

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OLAF GIESELER
Managing Director CURATAX Treuhand GmbH Steuerberatungsgesellschaft

“Cotton made in Africa is a useful, innovative initiative. I am delighted to be able to make a contribution to setting up the legal and fiscal conditions for it, and to help in the internal organisation of Cotton made in Africa.”

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PROF. DR. JOHANNES MERCK
Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer & Advisor
Otto Group

“Cotton made in Africa stands for new and successful ways in development cooperation as well as an innovative and trend-setting initiative within the Corporate Responsibility commitment of textile companies. Economic principles are relevant for the work of Cotton made in Africa, because the aim of the initiative is to help people help themselves, mobilize market forces and take into account the rules of the market. Thereby, Cotton made in Africa gives access to knowledge and education to those people for whom these goods were previously unavailable.”

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MATHIAS MOGGE
Secretary General and Chairman of the Board Welthungerhilfe

“We are on a promising path in development cooperation. The population in many countries has become more self-confident. Particularly in Africa, people are taking their future into their own hands more than before. As a member of the Board of Trustees of Cotton made in Africa, I look forward to being able to contribute to creating opportunities for people and the economic development of their home countries.”

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UWE SCHRÖDER
Honorary member of the Board of Trustees / Co-founder of Tom Tailor Group

“Every partnership is made up of giving and receiving. In this case we can really achieve something by giving – with long-term effect. In return, we get high quality cotton produced by ecological methods. That is the key principle of the AbT Foundation – giving long-term support by means of aid.”

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JAMES SHIKWATI
Director of Inter Region Economic Network (IREN) Kenya

“I applaud Cotton Made in Africa’s effort to involve African farmers in value added exchange of products with European markets.“

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MUNIR ZAVERI
CEO Alliance Ginneries Ltd.

“It is an honour and privilege to be appointed onto the Aid by Trade Foundation Board of Trustees. My family has been in the cotton business since 1935 hence we have seen all the ups and downs of the industry and the terrible effect bad policies have on African farmers. I have seen first hand how being part of a sustainable chain such as CmiA can positively impact the farmers and improve their livelihoods.”

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JEAN-CLAUDE TALON
Commercial and Logistics Director SODECO SA Groupe SFP, Benin

The Advisory Board

Cotton made in Africa’s Advisory Board serves to advise the initiative, and it consists of representatives from various international stakeholders. Non-governmental organisations, retailers, cotton companies, and government organisations, each contribute their own points of view and experiences. Their expertise means that members of the Advisory Board are important partners for dialogue and advisers for the Management Board.

Marco Bänniger

Paul Reinhart AG
Head Trader Hand Picked Cotton

Torsten Stau

REWE Group Buying GmbH
Non Food / Indirect Spend Handel D
Member of executive board

Boris Vogt

Miles Group
CEO

Marc Leynaert

Faso Coton
Production Director

Sabrina Mueller

Tchibo GmbH
Lead Manager Sustainability
(Non Food Product & Market)

Dr. Iris Schöninger

Welthungerhilfe
Coordinator Fundamental Principles & President

Olaf Tschimpke

NABU
CEO- NABU International Foundation for Nature

Jörn Otto

Bonprix
Vice President / Supply Chain & Sourcing

Dr. Liliana Gamba

WWF
Senior Project Coordinator Sustainability Standards

Dr. Marco Hartmann

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Head of Programme Sustainable Agricultural Supply Chains and Standards

The Management Board

The Management Board’s task is to put together a programme of concrete measures to achieve the foundation’s objectives. They are also responsible for the organisation’s continuing strategic development, which is based on the foundation’s statutes and decisions made by the Board of Trustees.

Overall responsibility for the Cotton made in Africa initiative is shared between the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) and ATAKORA Fördergesellschaft GmbH (ATAKORA). The latter is responsible for marketing the Aid by Trade Foundation’s trademark rights, which currently comprise Cotton made in Africa and The Good Cashmere Standard by AbTF. Revenue from selling rights to use trademarks is paid over to AbTF, which then uses it in accordance with its objectives.
Tina Stridde was appointed Managing Director of the Aid by Trade Foundation by the Board of Trustees in 2015, and Christian Barthel and Sabine Kleinewiese share the executive management of ATAKORA Fördergesellschaft GmbH.

The Team

The team is agile, dedicated, and well connected: With their diverse expertise, the employees of the Aid by Trade Foundation form a well-rounded team of professionals. Their knowledge, commitment, flexibility, and willingness to engage in dialogue both on the African fields and in the purchasing offices of international textile producers are the basis for improving the lives of African smallholder farmers step by step.

Tina Stridde

Management Board

Sabine Kleinewiese

Finance & Controlling, Management Board ATAKORA

Sonja Taviani

Finance & Controlling

Alexandra Perschau

Standard & Outreach

Nina Schöttle

Standard & Outreach

Gudrun Kersten

Standard & Outreach

Sebastian Müller

Standard & Outreach

Christian Barthel

Business Development, Management Board ATAKORA

Isabelle Riedelbauch

Business Development

Gerlind Bäz

Business Development

Anja Neumann

Business Development

Christina Ben Bella

Marketing & Communication
On parental leave

Isabelle Thoele

Marketing & Communication

Geeske Venance

Office Management