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Fairtrade now possible for ready-to-wear: first sewing factory certified

By Regina Henkel

29 Jan 2020

Business

Official Fairtrade seals have so far only been found on agricultural products such as coffee, bananas, tea or even cotton. Indian garment manufacturer Purecotz is now the first textile factory that has been certified according to the Fairtrade textile standard.

Pioneering more fairness in the textile sector

With the certification, Purecotz commits itself to paying living wages to all of its one thousand employees within the next six years. In addition to fair wages, the textile standard provides for further measures regarding work safety, employment contracts and complaint mechanisms as well as the freedom of association and the freedom to choose and form a trade union.

Purecotz works exclusively with organic cotton fabrics - a large part of which is Fairtrade certified. For founder and managing director Amit Narke, the certification was a consistent step towards an even more sustainable and fairer production. "We follow the path of continuous improvement. Our goal is a balance between economic, ecological and social sustainability. The Fairtrade textile standard is an important signpost and source of inspiration in this respect", explains Narke. But it is also a business risk. "Purecotz is taking the first step here, which makes it all the more important that fashion companies follow this commitment and switch to fair textiles," says Dieter Overath, managing chairman of the board of TransFair e.V. (Fairtrade Germany).

First license partners for Fairtrade textiles

The first license partners for Fairtrade textiles have already been found with fashion companies Melawear and Brands Fashion. Both manufacturers are long-standing Fairtrade partners in the textile sector. "We have worked towards this day with a lot of energy. Now that we are also licensees of the textile standard, the goal of fair produced textiles is within reach," explaines Henning Siedentopp, managing director of Melawear. In addition, a spinning mill and a ginning mill are to be certified before the end of the year. Then Melawear would have access to a completely Fairtrade-certified supply chain. Because only when all steps of textile production are certified - from cotton ginning to yarn and fabric production to sewing - will companies be allowed to use the Fairtrade textile seal for their products.

Clothing and corporate wear manufacturer Brands Fashion is also working on implementing the Fairtrade textile standard: "Our goal for 2020 is the certification of the world's first supply chain. This way, we are strengthening workers' rights and thus ensuring the payment of living wages in the long run," says Rabea Schafrick, deputy head of sustainability at Brands Fashion.

Fairtrade was also present at sustainable fair Neonyt, which took place from 14th to 16th January 2020 in Berlin, Germany. TransFair, the German offshoot of the international association Fairtrade International e.V., was available for more information as well.

Photo: Anand Parmar

This article was originally published on FashionUnited DE. Edited and translated by Simone Preuss.