Marieke Weerdesteijn from Solidaridad The Netherlands and Rama Krishna from Chetna Organic present today their cooperation with fashion label Jackpot at the Sustainable Textile conference in Barcelona. Many companies active in sustainable fashion exchange their experiences at this conference. It is organized by Textile Exchange.
The Jackpot showcase is about the involvement of a fashion brand in the supply chain to improve in sustainable production and processing without compromising on the design of their collection. Together with Chetna Organic and Solidaridad, Jackpot was able to make substantial differences for many farmers and people working in the fashion industry.
Create economic base for smallholder cotton farmers
Solidaridad started Chetna Organic as a pilot project in 2004 with 240 farmers and a production of 30 tons of organic cotton lint. Circumstances in the cotton sector were severe. Cotton wasn’t a viable economic base for smallholder farmers to sustain their farm and family. Poverty, high farmer debts and increasing incidence of farmer suicides were the main stories heard from the countryside of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. In less then seven years many things have changed.
Improving supply chains
In the very same year Chetna Organic started as a pilot project, Solidaridad initiated Made-by, an organization that supports fashion brands in developing sustainable business practices and promotes transparent communication about corporate social responsibility by fashion brands. Jackpot joined Made-by in 2007 and started improving their supply chains in cooperation with Solidaridad.
Focus on livelihood goals
Chetna Organic now works with more then 10,000 farmers and produces 1500 tons of organic cotton lint and a variety of other (food)crops. The project became a self managed farmers association in 2007 and started a farmers owned producer company in 2009 to strengthen the position of the farmers in the market to buy inputs and sell produce. It also initiates new value adding activities to generate even better income. A recent impact study showed that 3,000 farmers from Orissa generated €320,000 extra income and €110,000 of social investments through fair-trade premiums and donations from partners in the fashion chain in 2009 and 2010.
The farmers are organized in more then 700 self help groups that not only focus on sustainable and efficient agriculture but integrate livelihood goals farmers dream of. These goals include food security (production includes other crops like rice, maize and lentils), education and water management. More on the success of the Chetna story you find here below.
Jackpot's progress in the sustainable scorecard
Jackpot’s involvement in the supply chain included projects in factories to improve social and environmental conditions, as well as using organic cotton in their products. For 5 years now, their collection includes Chetna Organic cotton, which makes them a very reliable and valuable partner for the Indian farmers. Jackpot not only buys organic cotton but also invests in the fashion supply chain like with their donation T-shirts. The net profit of these T-shirts is reinvested in selected projects. Some of the community projects in the Chetna villages have been supported this way. They choose to invest instead of giving ‘just’ charity. The personal involvement of Jackpot personnel helped to make swift progress in the sustainable scorecard of their supply chain.