The Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) is glad to announce a pioneering new partnership in the United Kingdom: Abi Rushton, Founder and Director of
ethicalexpert limited, will be advising the Hamburg-based foundation on cooperations with UK retailers. The foundation’s initiative Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) supports an innovative approach to development cooperation by improving the living conditions of African smallholder farmers through trade. A global demand alliance purchases their sustainably produced cotton at market prices.
The partnership of the Aid by Trade Foundation and Abi Rushton and her ethical trade and sustainable supply chain consultancy ethicalexpert, aims at opening up new markets for the African cotton offered by Cotton made in Africa. “This partnership is a huge opportunity for the initiative to break into the British market, which is known to be a leader in the field of sustainable consumerism”, says Stephan Engel, responsible for Sales at AbTF.
Abi Rushton comments on the agreement: “At ethicalexpert we’re very excited about the partnership with Cotton made in Africa as the initiative also aims at securing profitable supply chains for brands and workers. We’ve been impressed with the reach and impact of CmiA’s work on the ground in Africa and its potential commercial impact for brands.” Rushton, who has extensive experience across the market, is optimistic with regard to the future development of the initiative in the UK’s retail industry: “We believe our work with clients to develop profitable sustainability strategies compliments CmiA’s work. Together we can provide sound commercial opportunities for brands and workers.” The initiative’s approach of making sustainable materials available at market prices, Rushton argues, could provide a solution for UK retail to help the ethical fashion niche go mainstream and give retailers a profitable means to drive the change.
Cotton made in Africa works in five African countries to help smallholder cotton farmers help themselves through trade. On the one hand the initiative supports cotton farmers on-site with training and community projects; on the other hand, CmiA continues to build a demand alliance of international textile companies that purchase sustainably produced cotton at market prices and process it further for the global market. The demand alliance currently includes over twenty international textile companies.