Bottom Up!

Bottom UP! is designed to help Ethiopian factories improve their environmental and ethical standards by developing sustainable and equitable production processes. Bottom Up! works with 14 producers, 19,200 workers and 2,000 farmers to prevent a race to the bottom in Ethiopia.

What is the Bottom Up! programme?

Bottom Up! was launched by Solidaridad, the Danish Ethical Trading Initiative, and MVO Nederland with the support of the European Union, to support the development of a more sustainable and ethical cotton and textile supply chain coming into Europe.

Through project interventions in factories and cotton farms in Ethiopia, Bottom Up! is attempting to build the capacity of workers and management in this industry to produce in line with best environmental and social practices. To ensure that these measures are long-lasting Bottom UP! will link buyers in Europe with sustainable sources in Ethiopia, connecting them through webinars, virtual trade missions and by educating them on the challenges and solutions through webinars, reports and case studies.

Video produced with the support of the European Union.

Bottom Up! and European consumers

Through an innovative campaign Bottom Up! will raise awareness among consumers in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark on sustainability.

Over the course of the final years of the programme the partners will reach out to consumers in these three key European markets to inform them about the importance of sustainable supply chains in cotton and textiles.

By engaging consumers with products of sustainable practices and content focused on the benefits to the environment and workers, the programme will stimulate demand for more ethical supply chains.


Ethiopia as a sustainable textiles hub

Bottom Up!’s activities have focused on creating a sustainable textile hub in Ethiopia. Although the country has seen recent crises, relating to conflict and flooding, its youthful population and developing business landscape made it a good location to showcase the benefits of the Bottom Up! approach. However, apart from recent difficulties, working in Ethiopia poses certain challenges to brands and companies. You can find out more about sourcing in Ethiopia here. But some of the main challenges are:

Both importing needed materials to and exporting finished products from Ethiopia to European markets can be complicated and time consuming. You can learn more about some of these issues here.

A key concern amongst stakeholders and potential buyers are issues around workers rights. Particularly worries about the lack of freedom of association and the living wage. Reported wages are sometimes as low as 26 USD, which is far below the World Bank poverty line. Bottom Up! hopes to improve labour conditions by providing training and knowledge on social and labour standards among participating companies.

Cotton farming and textile production are highly resource-intensive. Both can see massive waste of clean water. Additionally cotton is often treated with hazardous pesticides that can damage the ecosystem, while waste water from the dyeing of textiles is a major source of pollution in many of the major textile producing countries.

Who we work with

Kanoria Africa produces denim jeans in one of the most sustainable factories in the world

Kanoria Africa is a vertically integrated denim factory in Ethiopia, equipped with the latest sustainable production technologies. Kanoria Africa was established by Kanoria Chemicals and Industries Limited, producer of – among other things – organic chemicals and renewable energy in India.


Ethiopian home textiles manufacturer Kombolcha partners with Bottom UP! Ethiopia development programme

Kombolcha is a vertically integrated Ethiopian home textiles factory, producing bed sheets, pillow cases, towels, poplins and more. The company employs around 1400 people in the town of Kombolcha since 1986. It is working with the Bottom UP! development programme to establish itself in the international garment market.

Contact: Mr. Mustefa Jemal

Desta works with Bottom UP! Ethiopia programme to supply sustainable garments

Desta is an independent, family-run garment factory in Ethiopia, supplying customers in Europe, the US and Ethiopia. The company is specialised in knitting, cutting, sewing and finishing. Desta is BSCI compliant and working on sustainable garment production together with the new Bottom UP! development programme.

Contact: Mr. Eyob Bekele

Bahir Dar Textile factory uses locally grown organic cotton for home textiles

Bahir Dar is a vertically integrated textile mill in Ethiopia, producing various home textile products. The company uses locally grown organic cotton in many of its products, such as bed sheets, pillowcases and grey cotton fabrics. Bahir Dar is working on sustainable textile production together with the new Bottom UP! development programme.

Contact: Nebiyu Temesgen

Home textile manufacturer Ethio-Japan partners with Bottom UP! programme to develop sustainable products

Ethio-Japan is a vertically integrated manufacturer of home furnishing products and casual wear for men and women in Ethiopia. Ethio-Japan is working on sustainable textile production together with the new Bottom UP! development programme.

Contact: Mrs. Woinshet Shewatsega

ETUR Textile in Ethiopia manufacturers recycled fabrics and garments in Ethiopia

Etur Textile PLC is a vertically integrated manufacturer of 100% pollution free re-generated fibers, re-generated yarns and circular knitted fabrics and garments. The company is located in Ethiopia and supplies buyers in Europe and North-Africa with finished garments made from recycled materials.

Contact: Mr. Osman Basoglu


Bottom UP! Ethiopia is funded by the EU and was developed as a collaboration between the Danish Ethical Trading Initiative, MVO Nederland and the Solidaridad Network.

Interested to partner with us, or would like to know more about our programme? Get in touch with us:

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Laura Miguel

Project Lead