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.

Prof. Dr. Michael Otto

“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.

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.“

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.”

Member of the Management Board of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

“Cotton is a key source of income for many small-scale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. At GIZ, we aim to enable them to increase their earnings by adopting better cultivation practices and entering into long-term partnerships with international buyers. The Cotton made in Africa standard plays a crucial role in these efforts by bringing African cotton to the European market, creating transparency throughout the supply chain, and improving the future for many people.”

Commercial Director Ivoire Coton SA and Faso Coton SA

“As I see it, CmiA gives our cotton an identity that fits with our vision of promoting sustainable African cotton. It also offers African producers an opportunity to publicise their good cultivation practices and to raise awareness of the conditions under which cotton is produced in Africa.”

Managing Director of Otto Stadtlander GmbH

“Since 2005, the Cotton Made in Africa Initiative has come an impressive way and is now one of the sustainability programs with the greatest socio-ecological impact in the cotton sector. It is a great honor for me to work on the Board of Trustees and to contribute my perspective as a cotton trader and member of the Presiding Committee of the Bremen Cotton Exchange.”

Executive Buying Director Indirect Spend/Non Food, REWE Group Buying

“In 2008, we began working together with Cotton made in Africa to realise our goal of producing 100 percent of of textile products of our own brand from sustainable cotton by 2025. The fact that we already reached this goal in 2022 speaks for itself. Demand for sustainable cotton has grown, elevating it from a niche material to the mass market, and CmiA cotton is priced competitively, even when compared to conventional cotton. Close communication between all stakeholders is key. We are now embarking on the next stage of development, with the aim of incorporating the HIP system into our approach by 2025. That is why I am proud of this strong partnership.”

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 Bänninger

Head Trader Hand Picked Cotton
Paul Reinhart AG

Dr. Alexander David

Head Of International Purchasing
Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG

Jörn Otto

Vice President / Supply Chain & Sourcing

Maja-Catrin Riecher WWF

Maja-Catrin Riecher

Project Manager Sustainable Agricultural Commodities

Alessandra Fiedler

Head of Commodity Hub Burkina Faso, Global Programme Sustainability and Value Added in Agricultural Supply Chains,  Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Fabian Scholz

Senior Vice President
Miles GmbH


Fritz Grobien

Managing Partner Albrecht Müller-Pearse & Co and Vice-President Bremen Cotton Exchange

Theresa Heering

Senior Advisor FSS Partnerships & PR Deutsche Welthungerhilfe e. V.

Cristina Graack

Senior Sunstainability Manager
Tchibo GmbH

Franziska Benninghaus

Head of Strategic Project Management Non Food, REWE Group

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 Cotton Made in Africa

Tina Stridde


Jessica Strachanowski

Assistant to the Managing Director

Sabine Kleinewiese

Finance & Controlling, Management Board ATAKORA

Sonja Taviani

Finance & Controlling

Cendrine Lux

Finance & Controlling

Alexandra Perschau

Standards & Outreach

Nina Schöttle

Standards & Outreach

Gudrun Kersten Cotton Made in Africa

Gudrun Kersten

Standards & Outreach

Elena Wahrenberg

Standards & Outreach

Britta Deutsch

Standards & Outreach

Vanessa Löwenich

Standards & Outreach

Johanna Kälbert

Standards & Outreach

Inka Sachse

Standards & Outreach

Ai-Jung (Emily) Chiang

Standards & Outreach

Ben Sekamatte

CmiA Consultant

Younoussa Imorou Ali

CmiA Consultant

Christian Barthel

Business Development, Management Board ATAKORA

Gerlind Bäz

Business Development

Godwin Owoh

Business Development

Maike Brockmann

Business Development

Sarah Lux


Christina Ben Bella

Marketing & Communication

Isabelle Großkopf

Marketing & Communication

Holger Diedrich


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