All standards include a catalogue of criteria comprising exclusion criteria and sustainability criteria. Exclusion criteria must be fulfilled from the start. For the sustainability criteria, components are defined which must be fulfilled in stages. In binding management plans, the partners define in concrete terms how progress is to be achieved in order to fully meet all sustainability criteria. Independent auditors regularly check the fulfillment of the criteria and record the progress made.

The standards, associated criteria, and audit system were developed in close collaboration with experts at each link in the textile value chain and with representatives from research institutes, audit firms, and governmental and non-governmental organisations. An advisory board comprising experts from cotton producers and non-governmental organisations regularly reviews the verification system, and it continues to develop the system of standards in conjunction with the Aid by Trade Foundation. In addition, interested parties have the option of becoming involved in the consultation process to review the standards.

Governance of the Verification System

A variety of measures are in place to guarantee the reliability of the standard and conformity to its criteria.

The highest governing body for the Cotton made in Africa standard is the Board of Trustees of the Aid by Trade Foundation, the parent organisation of the Cotton made in Africa initiative. The board comprises representatives from non-governmental organisations and from the worlds of business and politics. It is also the supreme authority for dealing with disputes between verified enterprises, auditors, and CmiA’s verification managers.

The technical advisory board comprises experts from non-governmental organisations, cotton associations, textile companies, and public enterprises. While its main function is to advise the Aid by Trade Foundation, it is also responsible for providing feedback on CmiA standard and plays a role in various revision processes.
In Africa, the Aid by Trade Foundation cooperates closely with several partners in implementing the CmiA standards. These include cotton companies and small-scale farmers who cooperate with them as well as workers in ginning factories. At cotton company level, a large amount of the data is being collected and combined. This results in a more efficient control of our independent verification companies and other local partners.

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