Exclusion Criteria: What Cotton made in Africa Cannot Accept

  • At least 95 percent of the cultivation contracts entered into by cotton companies verified by Cotton made in Africa must be with smallholder farmers, i.e. farmers cultivating no more than 20 hectares of cotton fields. In practice, a large majority of farmers contracted with only have between one and three hectares of cotton fields.
  • Smallholder farmers are required to practise exclusively rain-fed agriculture, meaning they do not water or irrigate their fields.
  • Clearing primary forests is prohibited, as is encroachment into officially protected areas.
  • Exploitative child labour (as laid down in ILO Conventions 138 and 182), human trafficking (pursuant to the UN’s Palermo Protocol), and forced labour (as laid down in ILO Conventions 29 and 105) are also prohibited.
  • Freedom of assembly and of membership in organisations that represent smallholder farmers or ginnery workers must be guaranteed. The right to collective negotiation (as laid down in ILO Conventions 87 and 98) is also guaranteed.
  • The usage of genetically modified seeds is precluded.
  • Pesticides regulated by the Rotterdam or Stockholm conventions or classified by the WHO as extremely or highly hazardous (classes Ia and Ib) must not be used. A list of prohibited pesticides can be found here.
  • Pregnant, lactating, sick, under-age, and uneducated or inexperienced people are prohibited from working with pesticides.
  • Also prohibited are pesticides that are permitted under national regulations but do not conform to international standards and that are not labelled in at least one national language.
  • Men and women must receive equal pay for equal work (in accordance with ILO Convention 100.1).
  • Discrimination at the workplace is prohibited (in accordance with ILO Convention 111).
  • According to OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises, business dealings must conform to national or international law.

Sustainability Criteria: Additional Requirements Laid Down by Cotton made in Africa

The following supplementary criteria are applied to promote sustainable cotton production:

  • Maintaining Soil Fertility and Conserving Water: Environmentally friendly agricultural methods such as crop rotation conserve soil and groundwater and prevent soil depletion.
  • Deliberate Pesticide Use: Regular training keeps cotton farmers informed of the potential dangers of pesticides. They are taught to wear protective clothing when applying pesticides, to use suitable equipment, and to store containers where they are not accessible to children.
  • Controlled and Reduced Pesticide Use: In accordance with the economic threshold principle, cotton farmers learn to use pesticides only after a certain level of pest infestation has been reached.
  • Pre-Financing Through Cotton Companies: Cotton companies provide advances to smallholder farmers with whom they have contracts, so they can purchase certain operating supplies such as seed material or pesticides. The farmers are informed of the costs of these operating supplies before signing contracts.
  • Cotton farmers are paid reliably and on time, and they are guaranteed representation in negotiations for cotton prices, allowing them to influence how the prices are set.
  • The classification of cotton quality is transparent, as is the price paid for the raw material.

The following criteria apply to ginneries:

  • Permanent and seasonal employees receive written employment contracts.
  • Working hours are regulated, and overtime is paid in full and in accordance with national law (cf. ILO Convention 1).
  • Monthly salaries are reliably paid out on time and meet or exceed the national minimum wage (cf. ILO Conventions 26 and 131).
  • Health and safety measures, such as wearing dust masks, are observed by all employees (cf. ILO Convention 155).
  • An environmental management plan is in place to reduce undesirable effects on the environment.

The CmiA Organic standard is based on existing requirements corresponding to internationally recognised guidelines for organic agriculture. If these requirements are met, Cotton made in Africa conducts additional inspections at the field level.

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