SUSTAINABLY PRODUCED COTTON
Reinhart supports all efforts to promote best practices throughout the value chain. As a leading raw cotton trading company, Reinhart has been deeply involved in the cotton industry since 1788, when there were no pesticides and the industry was truly organic.
INTEGRATED COTTON PRODUCTION
Cotton made in Africa (CmiA):
The Aid by Trade Foundation helps people to help themselves, by means of trade. Specifically, the Foundation works with its Cotton made in Africa Initiative for the improvement of conditions of life of African cotton farmers in Benin, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Côte d'Ivoire.
Reinhart is a partner of the Aid by Trade Foundation.
More information about Cotton made in Africa: http://www.cotton-made-in-africa.com/en/home.html
Better Cotton Initiative (BCI):
The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future. BCI aims to transform cotton production worldwide by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity.
To achieve this mission, BCI works with a diverse range of stakeholders across the cotton supply chain to promote measurable and continuing improvements for the environment, farming communities and the economies of cotton-producing areas.
The four specific aims of the BCI:
• Reduce the environmental impact of cotton production
• Improve livelihoods and economic development in cotton producing areas
• Improve commitment to and flow of Better Cotton throughout supply chain
• Ensure the credibility and sustainability of the Better Cotton Initiative
Reinhart is a registered member of the Better Cotton Initiative
- More information about the Better Cotton Initiative: http://bettercotton.org
- Questions and answers about BCI: http://bettercotton.org/about-bci/qa/
- Two minute questions and answers from Paul Reinhart AG and Norman Group: Interview
- BCI Article: Record Level of better Cotton Uptake sends clear Signal to the Market
Reinhart sources its organic cotton from a number of regions and acts as an intermediary between growers and spinners, providing its customers quality assurance, logistics and documentation. Reinhart stands behind the strict organic certification regulations. Traceability is a key issue and must be maintained throughout the production life-cycle and the supply chain. This ensures no conventional cotton is sold as organic cotton and that the consumer remains confident in the organic production process.
Reinhart is a partner of the Swiss development organization Helvetas which runs projects on organic cotton in Burkina Faso, Mali and the Central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan.
Early organic fiber production began in the U.S. and Turkey in the late 1980s. These were soon followed by production in Africa (Egypt), India, and Peru. Some production was initiated by traditional companies seeking to create new models of doing business, others by farmers seeking new markets and better ways of living. Lastly, some were started as development projects by NGOs.
Organic cotton fiber production has gone through several phases of development in the past fifteen years. Initially there was enthusiasm for organic cotton, but the market went through a re-assessment largely because of lack of interest from consumers. It followed a more structured and professional approach in the late 1990s. During the past four years, the organic cotton market has become more global, with improved fiber quality, greater production and trade more integrated supply chains and rapid growth in demand. Most of all the global market is demanding a shift to socially responsible and environmentally friendly products making organic cotton attractive to the mainstream consumer.
Where organic production is workable the major beneficiary is the farmer. Farmers are no longer exposed to pesticides and insecticides/ providing a health benefit and lowering the growing cost. Presently/ organic methods produce lower yields but the farmer financially benefits from a premium sales price. Additionally there are positive environmental effects on the rotating food crops.
Expansion in organic fiber production and consumption is expected to continue in the coming years. Globally companies are making commitments to transition to organic cotton for a variety of reasons. They desire to differentiate their brand and products and display their commitment to social and environmental responsibility. Increased awareness and use of organic food and other products by consumers and positive consumer response to organic cotton products is driving the market to companies thinking organically. The success of organic cotton depends largely on retailers taking the next step and continuing to increase their product ranges within the next few years.
Certification and inspection of the organic production are of a paramount importance. The following organizations provide certification programs:
The Institute for Marketecology (IMO):
The Institute for Marketecology (IMO) is an international certification and inspection agency founded in Switzerland in 1990. IMO is specialized in quality assurance of eco- friendly products/ organic agriculture and management systems. (www.imo.ch).
ECOCERT is a control and certification organization/ whose activities are governed accordingly by the public authorities and legislation. ECOCERT is accredited for structure and procedures by COFRAC (French committee for accreditation), in accordance with guide standard ISO 65 (EN 45011), which requires independence, competence and impartiality (www.ecocert.com).
Control Union World Group:
Control Union is an international group of companies specializing in independent cargo surveying, super-intending and certification. Control Union Certifications, f.k.a. Skal International, offers global one-stop-shop for a wide range of certification programs (www.controlunion.com).
Since the late 1990's, Reinhart has promoted international organic projects under the standards of ECOCERT. One of the projects is the following:
Reinhart has partnered with the private development organization Helvetas (www.helvetas.ch and www.organiccotton.ch). Helvetas supports the institutional aspects of the project, such as farmers' associations, and production methods. Helvetas a lso arranges partnerships, in which purchase guarantees for production are given by private partners in the textile industry.
Reinhart brings its expertise in administration, logistics, finance, and the selling process. In Burkina Faso, Reinhart also shares its knowledge of the ginning process. The partners believe that cooperative projects benefit the producers in many ways, including debt reduction, increased social benefits to loca l communities, and the reduction or elimination of pollution risks and of physical exposure to toxic products. Organic production is also more attractive to women, increasing their economic freedom and encouraging social equality within the community.
Reinhart is engaged in purchasing and selling fair trade cotton, mainly from Cameroon and Mali. The team managing the fair trade cotton is also in charge of the organic cotton operation.
Fair trade is an organized social movement seeking greater equity in international trade through a market-based model built on dialogue, transparency and respect. Fairtrade contributes to the sustainable development of natural resources. Offering better trading conditions and securing the rights of marginalized producers and workers, the system focuses on exports from developing countries.
FLO - Fairtrade Labelling Organizations I nternational:
Fairtrade Labelling Organizations (FLO) International is a non-profit, multi stakeholder association involving 23 member organizations, traders and external experts. The member organizations consist of 20 Labelling Initiatives, of which Max Havelaar is the best known, and three Producer Networks.
FLO International, with the support of interested consumers, is actively engaged in supporting workers, raising the awareness for fair payment, and campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of international trade. Fairtrade focuses on socia l, economic and environmental development issues and the development of new labor standards (www.fairtrade.net).
More information about Fairtrade: www.info.fairtrade.net
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