Bottom UP: Anchoring environmental and social standards in the Ethiopian textile industry


Solidaridad, Cotton made in Africa, Danish Ethical Trading Initiative and MVO Nederland start a new project to promote a sustainable cotton and garment value chain, from Ethiopian cotton to European consumers.

During the 8th international conference on cotton, textile & apparel value chain in Africa (CTA 2019) at Bahir Dar University, the new EU funded project Bottom UP! was officially launched. 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 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 USD per month which is far below the World Bank poverty line.

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.

About Solidaridad

The Solidaridad Network is an international civil society organization founded in 1969. Its main objective is facilitating the development of socially responsible, ecologically sound and profitable supply chains. It operates through eight regional expertise centers in over 40 countries. Solidaridad seeks to transform production practices to promote fair and profitable livelihoods and business opportunities, decent working conditions and a fair living wage without depleting the landscapes where people live and thrive.

About Danish Ethical Trading Initiative (DIEH)

The Danish Ethical Trading Initiative was established in 2008 and has grown into a strong organisation that operate across a range of sectors. DIEH is a Danish non-profit organisation that facilitates cooperation between different stakeholders to enhance responsible trade.

About MVO Nederland

CSR Netherlands / MVO Nederland is the Centre of Excellence for Dutch companies that are striving towards corporate social responsibility. More than 2000 companies are affiliated with this networking organization.

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