Why to choose organic cotton?
When thinking of organic cotton, we link the renouncement of chemical fertiliser, genetic engineering or pesticides with it.
However, organic (agriculture) can be much more! Ecologically sustainable cultivation of agriculture areas puts the whole biological system in the epicentre. This implies a locally adjusted composition of using available and renewable ressources, but also a far-sighted planning of mixed crop cultivation and the pre-empt use of pest control.
Ethletic is exclusively working with organic cotton, as it is important for us to have an integral system of sustainable, ecofriendly, social and healthy products.
FLO certified organic cotton from India
The organic cotton for our Ethletic Sneakers is from FLO certified smallholder plantations in India. “FLO“ stands for “Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International“, a Bonn-based international organisation in Germany. This company develops fair trade standards and accompanys both producer organisations and smallholders with fulfiling needs for fair trade.
With their trade partners, the certification organisation FLO-CERT is responsible for the enforcement of certification, inspections and audits.
In the region Andra Pradesh in the southeast of India, our organic farmers are cultivating rougly 30 to 40 per cent of their averaging two hectares of land with organic cotton. The remaining land is cropped for personal use with beans, nuts or citrus fruits, so there will not emerge monocultures. The use of pesticides is proscribed within farmers, as they have understood that the usage of (western) fertiliser or bioengineered seeding material can make them financially dependent and that it also takes away their basis of existence in the medium-term, as the soil is taking away valuable nutrients. For our Indian smallholders, “organic“ is no trend, as it is self-understanding to give ground and soil in good condition to the next generation.
The name of the smallholder community from which Ethletic-Organic-Cotton originates is “Chetna Organic“ (www.chetnaorganic.org.in) and has its main cultivation areas in the provinces Andra Proadesh and Odisha. In 2004, “Chetna Organic“ was established with 234 smallholders. In 2014, already 15,000 farmers joined the smallholder organisation and commited themselves to the Organic Farming.
Since 2007, Ethletic gets its organic cotton through the “Rai Laksmi Cotton Mills“, a Calcutta-based company from the same region. In small training centres or on organic pilot plants, “Chetna Organic“ is teaching the smallholders how to economise with biological farming responsibly and productively. Furthermore, there will be taken care for organic cotton yields (in regards of fair prices) and that seeding material can be purchased to fair prices. The further processing of the organic cotton in the cotton mills and weaving mills is taking place in fairtrade certified companies in India, from which the made canvas fabrics are brought to our production facility in Pakistan.
Who picks the organic cotton?
For us, it is important to have personal contact with our contractual smallholders. Hence, we are regularly traveling to India to the plantations and are planning those projects commonly with “Chetna Organic“, which they want to finance through fair trade premiums for the smallholders.
Thus, we are closely in contact with our employees and have an exchange on an equal footing to react to their cares and needs. People in India are very open-minded and hospitable – therefore visitation is always welcomed. Just as in Sri Lanka, interested friends can accompany us to this place. In 2014, the musician Ole Soul flew with us to India to have an own look of our organic cotton harvest and to make a small movie about it for the second production series of “Karma Chakhs“.
Why and which certificates?
Regarding cultivation of agriculture areas and the farming of commodities, there are miscellaneous seals that control the compliance of international standards to protect the trust of the consumer.
And to keep an overlook in the “seal jungle“, we have decided us for the particular authorized organisation (for the respective commodity), which appeared to us as the most suited in the task. For organic cotton, we are relying on the fairtrade organisation FLO (“Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International“), which is regularly checking the adherence of the stated standards of ecological cultivation and of the fair trade.