Geographic scope: Sub-Saharan Africa
Active Countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Initiated in 2005
An initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF), the CmiA aims to empower people through trade, improve the social, economic and ecological living conditions of cotton smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, through an international standard.
Members: Private sector (retailers, fashion brands, textile companies/ spinning millers, weaving millers, ginning companies, traders, exporters, service providers, finance companies, processors, manufacturers), Donors (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Social Accountability International, Welthungerhilfe, Deutsche Gesellchatf fur Internationale Zusammanarbeit, World Wide Fund for Nature, C7A Foundation, Better cotton Initiative), Expert/Technical/ Research (WRAP, Plexus Cotton Limited, Ethical Expert, Alterra, Wageningen University, Bimeco Garnhandel, Accenture, Accuracy, West Point Home Bahrain, Shandong Ruyi Technology Group co. LTD)
Lack of living conditions for Sub-Saharan cotton farmers.
The Aid by Trade Foundation is the umbrella organisation of the CmiA, and has been acting independently of the Otto Group. The platform provides ecological credentials to the international textile trade cotton improving the livelihoods of smallholders as well as promoting the need for sustainable businesses.
Intentions and aspiration
For people to benefit from trade and preserve natural resources in a sustainable manner.
The platform’s mission, aimed at Sub-Saharan smallholder farmers, intends to create transparency and support, as well as offer a sustainable alternative to traditional textile production. The CmiA obtains standards regarding ecological, social and economic aspects of cotton production/processing. It does so via a teaching approach rather than donation based approach, where smallholders learn about methods of sustainable and efficient farming. Moreover, the platform has created an international alliance of textile companies, which buy CmiA raw material and pay a license fee to use the seal, this fee is then reinvested into the projects.
Arrangements and capacitities
The platform is governed by the Trustees of the Aid by Trade Foundation which has four key governance groups:
- AbTF Board of trustees,
- The AbTF Managemen,
- Verification Management,
Moreover, there are CmiA Organic Units, which are a group of farmers that cultivate organic cotton, and Managing Entities (secretariat) which financing the organic verification. The Managing Entities also decide who will be a CmiA farmer, has the responsibility for criteria compliance, conducting annual self-assessments and submitting it to the AbTF.
Activities and outputs
The platform provides activities such as events with corporate clients and partners to raise public awareness of the brand. The brand is also promoted via the internet (YouTube videos, social networks; Facebook and twitter). Moreover, the website contains many documents regarding the CmiA Standard, textile chains, marketing and communication, annual reports, studies and newsletters. The platform also created the CmiA Community Cooperation Program, backing projects in education, health, environmental issues and initiative for women.
Monitoring and evaluation
The ecological impact of AmiA is measured through several studies through a Life Cycle Assessment.