Organic Cotton


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“ ( 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.

Natural Rubber

What is natural rubber?

If you want to narrate the history of commercially used natural rubber, then you will have to go back to 1875, where, according to a legend, thousands of seminals of a natural rubber were bootleged in a stuffed crocodile from Brazil. Since then, rubber is cultivated all around the equator in the whole world. There are a lot of plants which exclude juices similar to rubber – for example the Brazil „primeeval natural rubber“. Ethletic is using the natural resource “Hevea Brasialiensis” from its crust latex milk (extracted by hand). This is then used for both our shoe soles and as glue.

There are two different natural rubbers – the solid rubber (“gum“) and the fluid latex milk (“latex“). Solid rubber is formed by mixing latex milk with acid (ammoniac). Thus, latex juice is thickening (such as jogurt in milk). Water is screwed out from this mass and the dehydrated sheets in smoking chambers dryed to rubber mats and made durable. Ethletic soles are then made out of this solid natural substance.

Latex milk, which is directly extracted from bark of a tree, is processed in fluid state. Ethletic uses latex milk as glue. The procedure of combining all components with each other is called vulcanisation. It was discovered in 1839 by US chemist Charles Goodyear. After already 21 years, the first shoe soles of natural rubber went into production. 1917 was the birth hour of the legendary sneakers, which US athlete Chuck Tylor wore for the first time in 1918 when playing basketball.



FSC certified rubber from Sri Lanka

It is important for us not only to use ecological materials, but also that they are cultivated with responsibility and that they are socially farmed. The natural rubber for our Ethletic products are from Sri Lanka. It is the first place in the world with FSC certified rubber plantations.

“FSC“ stands for “Forest Stewardship Council“ and is an international certification system for forestry. Worldwide valid principles are guaranteeing that products of wood and paper with the FSC seal are steming from responsibly farmed forests. These principles are defined in an international standard. The FSC standard stipulates that ecological functions of a forest have to survive. In addition, it secures threatened animal- and plant forms from extinction and secures the rights of the inhabitants and employees. Our natural rubber plantations in Sri Lanka are moreover afforested every year from the beginning.

What many people do not know is the fact that rubber tree plantations are contributing to the depletion of carbon dioxide off our environment. According to Indian researchers, one hectare of rubber tree plantations are absorbing seven times more carbon dioxide as a hectare of rainforest.

Furthermore, natural rubber is bio-degradable. This contributs to the relief of environment and prevents the accumulation of “plastic carpets“ on our oceans.



Who picks this succulent natural resource?

We would really like to get to know every person in our supply chain if this would be feasable. However, due to temporal and organisational reasons this is not possible. But what we love and do are regular visits to smallholders and their plantations, from which we get our natural resources. It is important for us to stay in contact with them and plan our common future on an equal footing and to share their worries and pleasures. We also put emphasise on visits of our friends on our trips, which then can locally have a look at our work and report their impressions at home.

For example, Berlin architect and artist Van Bo accompanied us to Sri Lanka as part of his Crowdfunding project “Karma Chakhs“ and afterwards reported his „crowd“ about his impressions.



Why, which certificates?

As far as cultivation of agriculture areas and the cultivation of raw materials is concerned, there are miscellaneous seals, which control the compliance of the international standards to protect the trust of the consumer.

To keep track of the “seal jungle“, we have decided us for the particular organisation (for the respective natural resource), which fitted us the best for the task. For the raw material natural rubber we are relying on the environmental association FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), which controls on annual audits the compliance of defined ecological and social standards with its experts.

Furthermore, for every regular order, we have commited ourselves to the accomplishment of additional contributions for social project facilitations of plantation workers. We are achieving this by paying them an additional amount of €0.50 per reaped rubber. Through this money, the community is able to allow small-scale projects such as the construction of a small bridge or the establishment of a small consumer shop.

Have A Good Feeling

“Ethletic” – das ist nicht nur ein Brand. Das ist vor allem ein Gefühl! Ein gutes Gefühl! Wir stehen für faire Mode, aber auch für Spaß. Wir lieben das Leben, aber auch den Frieden von Mensch und Tier. Wir machen Musik und das mit Herz. Und wir wünschen uns, dieses Gefühl mit der ganzen Welt zu teilen. Von den Kleinbauern bis hin zu den Konsumenten. Von den Freaks bis zu den Fashionistas. Von Berlin bis Mumbai und wieder zurück. Dazu gibt es jetzt den hauseigenen “Ethletic”-Soundtrack.


Geschrieben und produziert von Musiker Ole Feddersen, der nach seiner Udo-Lindenberg-Tour mit “Ethletic” in Indien war und hinter die Kulissen unserer Produzenten geschaut hat. Geremixed von Wolfgang Lohr, der den Song gehört und das Gefühl sofort verinnerlicht hat. Und jetzt seid ihr dran… Have a good Feeling!