Learn all about The KoolKompany Supply Chain
KoolKompny wants to help both cotton farmers and all those workers manufacturing its garments
Cotton is grown in warm places such as India, West Africa, China, Brazil, Zimbabwe, parts of the European Union (Greece, Spain), Turkey, Syria, Turkmenistan, Peru, Argentina, the southern states of the USA and Uzbekistan, and many more.
Fairtrade certified cotton is grown in India, Pakistan, Mali, Cameroon, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Peru, Argentina, Kyrgyzstan and Egypt.
Look for the FAIRTRADE Mark on cotton products. www.fairtrade.org.uk
The first phase of the Koolskools/KoolKompany ethical clothing project used cotton supplied from Cameroon in West Africa. The current range of garments uses cotton from small producer groups in India. Tragically, in India there have been upwards of 250,000 suicides of non-Fairtrade certified cotton farmers in the past 16 years as a direct result of the globally fluctuating cotton price.
But it is not easy for the cotton producers in developing countries to sustain their cotton production. The subsidies paid by governments in developed countries - for example the US and benefitting European Union countries - means the real benefits of the cotton trade are not felt by farmers in developing countries.
Cotton farmers in Cameroon receive barely $400 per year from 2 hectares
The total of cotton subsidies paid to US and EU countries per annum reaches nearly US$ 5 billion. Direct losses to West Africa as a result of the USA and the European Union subsidising their cotton farmers are estimated at $250 million per year, according to Oxfam.
The system pits a typical Cameroon cotton farmer, farming two hectares of cotton, who is lucky to earn $400 per year against American farmers who receive a subsidy of $250 per hectare!
Oxfam calculates that removing US cotton subsidies would boost average household income in West Africa by up to 9% - enough to feed a million people.
For more information on the challenges faced by conventional cotton farmers please visit: www.fairtrade.org.uk/products/cotton/the-great-cotton-stitch-up.aspx
We are looking to the future
One of KoolKompany's main aims through sourcing Fairtrade cotton is to make a long term contribution to the ability of Fairtrade cotton producers in developing countries to shape and enhance their own lives.
KoolKompany can achieve that, but your help in buying our Fairtrade cotton garments is crucial.
Some Facts About Cotton
- The oil from the cotton seed is used in some margarines, crisps and as salad dressings.
- The cake made out of crushed cotton seed is used as feed for the cattle that pull the ploughs in the cotton field.s
- The oil from the cotton seed is also used in some beauty products like lip balms, shampoos and moisturisers and also for making plastics.
- Even the average bank note contains a by-product of cotton.
The cotton production and manufacturing process
First the fields need to be ploughed.
Next the cotton seeds are planted. Farmers have to buy seed every year if they want good quality cotton.
Cotton flowers about 30 days after planting, and within 80 days the cotton plant fruits - called "fruits bolls".
40 - 50 days after that the bolls burst open and fluffy fibres appear.
After 6 months growing the Fairtrade cotton is then sorted, it is then taken for a process called ginning.
Ginning separates the fluffy lint from the seed. The ginning machines are often very large.
When the cotton arrives in Mauritius, the cotton is then spun, which means the individual fibres are twisted together into yarn.
After this the thread is woven into cloth.
The cotton is then ready for dyeing, cutting, embroidering and making into Koolskools Fairtrade cotton garments.
Take the Video Tour
Would you like to take a closer look? Watch a complete video tour of the Koolskools production and manufacturing process.