A huge exporter that supplies knitted yarn for all the major retail brands around the world, the Ahmed Group is also a longtime partner of CmiA. In an interview, Sajid Israq, one of the directors of the Ahmed Group Textile Division, discusses the demand for transparency in the supply chain, the value of the Sustainable Cotton Tracker (SCOT), and his experiences with upcharges for CmiA-labelled cotton and yarn.
Mr Israq, as a longtime partner of CmiA, how important is sustainability for your business?
Sustainability and human capital are inseparable parts of our industry. Following our philosophy, “No quality, no achievement”, we are convinced that it is important to invest in training to build up skills and capacity, thereby ensuring sustainable human capital. We believe that it will never be possible to maintain our business’s profitability without securing the sustainable development of our workforce and environment. Furthermore, we are producing recycled yarn and are an OEKO-Tex-certified company. In addition to the CmiA standard, we also produce organic cotton products according to the GOTS standard.
The requirements for transparency in textile supply chains are constantly increasing. Despite this, there are some producers and companies for whom transparency in the textile chain still sounds like a major hurdle. What would you say to these people?
I think transparency in the textile supply chain is the future, and it is implemented through CmiA. We also pay attention to transparency in terms of our business and workplace policies. This gives us better exposure to our customers. People who fear being transparent will be in trouble in the long run. The rise of technology will make the whole textile production process more transparent, and we have to adopt the new technology now to stand out among others and to keep doing so in the coming years.
With the newly launched Sustainable Cotton Tracker (SCOT), CmiA cotton processed according to the mass balance system can be traced back throughout the textile supply chain. Does the system fulfil the expectations for transparency in the supply chain?
The newly launched Sustainable Cotton Tracker (SCOT) makes it very simple to maintain the mass balance record for both sellers and customers. In my opinion, it is one of the most transparent transaction systems within the whole textile production supply chain. We are doing business with a large number of customers who are using CmiA yarn. That’s why our company has really benefited from SCOT.
CmiA cotton is traded at market prices as retailers and brands pay a licensing fee directly to the foundation to use the label. What is your experience with regard to upcharges when buying CmiA cotton and selling CmiA yarns?
We are one of the biggest manufacturers of CmiA yarn in Bangladesh and are paying a small membership fee directly to the foundation in order to be authorised to sell CmiA-labelled yarns. Neither we nor our suppliers ask for upcharges for CmiA-labelled raw cotton or yarns as it is our duty to give back to society. CmiA is working to improve smallholder farmers’ living and working conditions in Africa and to protect our environment. We are delighted to be a part of this effort, along with many retailers and brands.
What are the biggest changes textile producers such as your group will have to face in the coming years?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, textile producers like us need to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances in the textile supply chain system. High shipping costs, rising cotton prices, and the availability of cotton will be among the biggest challenges in the coming years, including for us.