Woolworths and Suppliers Work to Meet Better Cotton Target

In 2005, Woolworths launched a responsible business strategy known as “The Good Business Journey,” which focuses in part on sustainable fibres. While implementing the strategy, Woolworths identified cotton as the biggest part of their fibre footprint in apparel. In addition to organic cotton, Woolworths needed further elements of sustainable cotton to meet their goals.

“BCI met our requirements best because it talks toall aspects of growingcotton in a better way,” saidHugo Lemon, Product Technologist, Woolworths (Pty) Ltd.

Woolworths joined BCI in July 2014 with the goal of converting 15% of their cotton lint to Better Cotton by 2017. Meeting their target meant collaborating with suppliers, particularly in southern Africa, to increase their capacity to supply Better Cotton – a process which took a little over a year.”A joint collaborative and transformational approach made this work easier and has resulted in a firm commitment as a business to continually strive to do things in a better way,”said Lemon.

Woolworths selected its supply base for its capacity to service a broad spectrum of product categories, with the specific intent of converting big running lines into Better Cotton content. Along with these impressive efforts to date, Woolworths continue to work with their suppliers globally to develop a wider supply network of Better Cotton.

Prilla 2000, one of Woolworths’ suppliers, has been a valuable partner in making the procurement of Better Cotton a reality. The largest independent spinning mill in South Africa, Prilla joined BCI in February 2015 in response to demand from retailers, like Woolworths, for sustainable cotton.

Prilla works closely with its merchants to secure bales of Better Cotton. As long time buyers of CmiA (Cotton made in Africa) cotton, Prilla took advantage of the benchmarking agreement between AbTF (Aid by Trade Foundation) and BCI. Now they’ve started using their CmiA cotton as CmiA-BCI to fulfil their customers’ Better Cotton orders.

Prilla’s Better Cotton targets focus on supporting demand from customers in South Africa. They’ve had success in the region so far, and they’re hoping to expand their program to growers and retailers in other parts of the world.

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1.5 million people in Cameroon now benefit from Cotton made in Africa

In 2013, a Strategic Partnership Agreement was signed between BCI and Cotton made in Africa (CmiA), benchmarking standards and meaning that CmiA can now be sold as Better Cotton, increasing the amount available in the global supply chain.

We’re pleased to share CmiA’s news that after successfully completing verification, more than 226,000 smallholder farmers in Cameroon are for the first time growing cotton to the CmiA standard. Cotton is considered one of the main sources of income for families in rural Cameroon, and, with CmiA’s support, these families will now have the tools they need to succeed financially. Including the family members of the smallholder farmers, this expansion into Cameroon means that an additional 1.5 million people will now benefit from the program.

Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) is an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) that provides assistance in helping people help themselves through trade, to improve the living conditions of cotton farmers and their families in Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, more than 660,000 smallholder farmers in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Ghana, C√¥te d’Ivoire and Cameroon participate in the CmiA program. As CmiA’s reach expands, so does the global reach of Better Cotton providing a more sustainable future for the cotton sector as a whole.

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