We’re committed to using only sustainably sourced cotton by 2024 because the way it’s produced matters. We’re already investing in more Fairtrade and organic cotton and you’ll also see even more recycled polyester and sustainably sourced viscose in our new collections.
Organic cotton is grown from non-genetically modified seeds and without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers. By avoiding synthetic inputs, farmers and the environment are being exposed to fewer harmful chemicals. Organic production also replenishes and maintains soil fertility, which means the farmers can grow complementary crops and rotate crops to keep the soil healthy.
Third-party certification organisations verify that organic producers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production. This ensures that the cotton sourced meets strict environmental standards.
We have signed a three-year agreement, committing to the Fairtrade Sourced Cotton model (also known as the mass balance cotton programme). In the first year, we are committed to buying 100 metric tonnes of Fairtrade cotton. Our agreement is to increase the amount of Fairtrade cotton we source each year. Suppliers sign up to Fairtrade, who help connect them with a certified spinner. All transactions are tracked on a system called Fairtrace, which verifies when we have hit our target for the year. Plus, it also means our Fairtrade-Sourced cotton is traceable and we have transparency in our supply chain. We are proud to let you know we are the only UK retailer to commit to the mass balance cotton programme.
Fairtrade cotton supports the people at the beginning of the supply chain - the farmers who sow, grow and harvest the raw cotton. Fairtrade ensures that they earn a fair price for their cotton. The cost of Fairtrade is split into two parts: the Fairtrade Minimum Price and the Fairtrade Premium. The Minimum Price is set to ensure that farmers are being paid enough for their crop. It protects farmers against changes in the market and price fluctuations.
Farmers are organised into certified cooperatives and the Fairtrade Premium is an additional amount of money on top of the price that these cooperatives can choose how to spend. Examples include schools for their children, better irrigation systems, better access to doctors and better quality seeds. Through Fairtrade, thousands of cotton farmers have already improved their lives.
Cotton cooperatives have become better organised, farms are more productive and women are receiving the same rights as men. Cotton production uses a lot of water and farmers are affected by climate change. Fairtrade supports farmers in managing the environmental and health risks from cotton production. By meeting Fairtrade Standards, farmers can also improve soil fertility, prevent soil erosion and use water more sustainably. Farmers are also able to continually invest in their businesses and improve their livelihoods.
We have joined and committed to the Fairtrade Sourced Cotton model. This means that the quantity of cotton required for clothes carrying this Mark on our web page is sourced, traded and audited on Fairtrade terms. The cotton may be mixed with non-certified cotton, on a mass balance basis and Fairtrade producers receive the Fairtrade Minimum Price and the additional Premium. Visit www.fairtrade.org.uk/farmers-and-workers/cotton for more information.