CmiA - CREATING IMPACT FOR FARMERS AND NATURE
Since 2005, the Cotton made in Africa initiative is committed to improving the working conditions of a growing number of African smallholder farmers and factory workers in the cotton ginneries and to protecting the environment. Through its work the initiative gives African smallholder farmers and factory workers, who are at the beginning of the textile production chain, a voice and a recognizable “face” in international trade.
An increasing number of textile companies and brands worldwide are using sustainable CmiA cotton in their production processes. Any textile bearing the Cotton made in Africa label is playing a valuable part in protecting the environment and supporting the people in the cotton growing regions. Consumers can recognize the textiles by a small label with the words “Supporting the Cotton made in Africa Initiative”. In its mission to help African smallholder farmers to improve their living conditions by their own, Cotton made in Africa puts various measures in place. Thereby, CmiA is contiously scaling up impact for farmers and nature which is regularly monitored. The core of its work is based on the CmiA sustainability standard which entails to a list of defined social, ecological and economic criteria, such as equitable contracts and fair pay on time for the cotton producers, a ban on child labor, and the outlawing of harmful pesticides and artificial irrigation. Audits are carried out on a regular basis in order to verify compliance with the CmiA standard. Smallholder farmers are trained in small groups to provide them with efficient, sustainable and modern tools to adhere to the sustainability criteria and profit from their work.
1,033,500 smallholder farmers are already benefiting from Cotton made in Africa (as at March 2018). In concrete terms, they are taught modern and sustainable growing methods and basic systems which help them to run their family farms more efficiently or learn how health risks can be avoided in cotton cultivation and at home. On top of its standard implementation, verification and training scheme, Cotton made in Africa support the village communities with cooperation projects. According to a buttom-up principle, they are initiated by the communities themselves for various purposes, such as to guarantee a better supply of drinking water or to promote the rights of women.
Impact Assessment: Measurement of the Sustainability Targets of Cotton made in Africa
The social, ecological and economic value proposition of Cotton made in Africa is monitored as part of an impact assessment process. It measures whether the sustainability targets of CmiA are being met and what impact the standard has. It serves as a record of the long-term impact on the lives of the farming families involved in the Cotton made in Africa initiative and on their living environment. It is important to CmiA to check whether its goals of improving the living conditions of smallholder farmers and protecting the environment are actually being achieved.
Social and Economic Impact: Showing Commitment - Shaping the Future
Since the foundation of Cotton made in Africa in 2005, our work has made a significant contribution to improving the economic and social sustainability of cotton farming families in the African project countries. The various measures put in place by CmiA are enabling more and more smallholder farmers to improve their living conditions and those of their families by their own efforts. With the growing number of farmers involved in the projects and the broad geographic reach, the initiative has now established itself as a major player in the cotton sector in sub-Saharan Africa. You can read what has changed for individual farmers in the News section of this website. It features short interviews in which they report on their situation.
Ecological Impact: Protecting Nature - Preserving the Environment
Cotton made in Africa makes a significant contribution to environmental protection in the growing regions through eco-friendly cultivation methods, often taken from organic farming. The overall environmental audit shows that, on balance, Cotton made in Africa has a significantly better carbon footprint than conventionally grown cotton. It has been proven that CmiA cotton uses more than 2,100 liters of water per kilogram of cotton fiber less than the global average, because it is not irrigated artificially. Additionally, it is responsible for up to 40% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional cotton. These are the findings of two studies on the ecological footprint of Cotton made in Africa conducted by the consultancy firms Systain and PE INTERNATIONAL on behalf of the Aid by Trade Foundation.
The studies involved measured the water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of Cotton made in Africa on the basis of a life-cycle assessment. A life-cycle assessment is a systematic analysis of the environmental impact of products, processes or services throughout their entire life cycle. This includes all the effects unleashed on the environment during upstream and downstream processes, such as the production of raw materials, consumables and supplies. Find out more.