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Fairtrade Cotton

by Mike Holly

More and more clothes on the high street are carrying the label for Fairtrade Cotton but how much do people actually know about it? What are its aims? What is it and equally important what is it not?

Prime purpose

This has to be the elimination of poverty through sustainable farming. That’s it pure and simple:-

1. Poverty is the key stone. You don’t see this for the big cotton producers in America.

2. Sustainable. Whatever the solution is it must be sustainable. Poverty can be conquered if you can plan safely for the future with a stable guaranteed income.

3. It benefits the farmers. Not the spinners or factory workers who could be equally poor. Just the farmers.

What does it do?

It guarantees them a sustainable cotton price to cover the full costs of growing cotton as well as allowing them to invest in the future. It also helps put money into community projects by paying a small premium over the true farm gate cost.

Is this the same as Organic cotton?

No, not necessarily. The two are often related but they are independent of each other.

The cotton industry is huge…so surely the farmers must make a profit?

No, this is a common misconception. Cotton which costs 30 cents from the farm can end up as a $20 T-Shirt.

Do they still grow cotton in America?

Yes, the farms are automated and the American government erects tariffs and provides subsidies to protect their farmers. Foreign governments generally do not do enough for their own farmers.

I have seen Fair trade Coffee. Is that the same?

It’s the same idea, but for Coffee. 

Will I pay more for goods with the Fair Trade label?

It depends. Ideally you will pay the same price as we believe that the Fair Trade label is a positive selling point and traders who use it will recoup the extra cost by selling more.

How can I find out more?

Well there are plenty of references on the internet. For instance:-

Fairtrade Foundation, the campaigning and certification organisation behind the FAIRTRADE Mark.

Wikipedia on the Fairtrade movement

M&S launch there own Fair Trade

Blog talk about Fair trade cotton http://piccalilly.wordpress.com/2008/02/25/change-today-choose-fairtrade-cotton/


Corporate clothing is now available in organic fairtrade cotton - Andrew Parrini has, for many years, supplied quality corporate clothing but he has recently started to offer clothes made from organic fairtrade cotton.

*  Article provided by Mike Holly of Dark Sea Web Design Limited 




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