A strong team for sustainable cotton for the Dutch market


With its latest cooperation with Dutch service enterprise AfricanWise, the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) has put down another marker for Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) on the international markets. The AbTF will be working with Frans de Pater, founder and director of AfricanWise, in order to establish the demand for Cotton made in Africa cotton in the Netherlands. The aim of the Foundation is to get sustainable cotton from Africa flowing in and out of international textile companies and, in so doing, to create a situation from which all can profit – the textile companies, the consumers and, not least, the smallholders and their families in Africa.

“We want to show Dutch companies that sustainability and profitability can go hand in hand with each other because with Cotton made in Africa they gain access to a socially, ecologically and economically sustainable raw material which is an asset for all – the textile companies, the consumers and the cotton farmers in Africa,” said Tina Stridde, director of the Aid by Trade Foundation in Hamburg, explaining the reasons for the partnership with Afri-canWise. Partners like PUMA, the Rewe Group, the Otto Group and Tchibo have long been committed to Cotton made in Africa, demonstrating that the Cotton made in Africa concept is working.

Frans de Pater, new representative of the Aid by Trade Foundation in the Netherlands and director of AfricanWise, is delighted at the new partnership. “Cotton made in Africa is a great opportunity for textile companies in the Netherlands,” he said, “because the initiative combines an attitude of social responsibility and stewardship with entrepreneurial thinking. CmiA cotton is always available at market prices and is made into textiles all over the world. This establishes not only the authenticity of the products but also their flexibility.” De Pater has over 25 years of experience of working with inno-vative business concepts in international B2B and B2C contexts, both in Europe and in Africa. He has a firm background in various industries including the textiles and garment sector.

Cotton made in Africa is currently working with over 650,000 cotton farmers in 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Experts train the smallholders in sustainable cultivation methods which protect the environment and increase their crop and therefore their income. The communities in rural Africa also receive assistance by way of water and sanitation projects, initiatives in support of women, and investment in the school infrastructure. CmiA has already reached over five million people in this way if family members are included. Several reviews show that helping people to help themselves is an approach which is well received. Independent accredited auditors conduct regular checks to verify that the sustainability criteria for the Cotton made in Africa standard are being met. The CmiA seal of approval is only given to cotton which is shown to meet the specifications set out to achieve the standard. Scientific studies, such as the research conducted by PE INTERNATIONAL, also underline the fact that Cotton made in Africa is mak-ing a difference in respect of the environment, with proof that the sustaina-ble growing methods adopted for Cotton made in Africa cotton are reducing negative environmental impact and global climate change. Every kilogram of cotton fiber represents a saving of over 2000 liters of water in compari-son with the global average and a reduction of up to 40% in greenhouse gas emissions in contrast with conventional cotton.

AfricanWise is founded by Frans de Pater and Alex Sijmonsma and supports trade between Europe and Sub Saharan Africa. With the belief that all social classes should benefit from growth, African Wise develops and executes ‘inclusive’ business models. As cultural understanding is essential to success-fully do business African Wise has created a vast network of Project Partners, all having worked and lived in Africa. Its focus lies on agriculture, manufacturing as well as the textile and garment industry.

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