Sustainable consumption – is there such a thing? Since consumption is a prerequisite for trade, it is essentially a positive thing. It is necessary for our economy, for job creation and for welfare. Nearly all of the decrease in extreme poverty has come about in countries integrated with the rest of the world through trade and an influx of international businesses. And almost all countries that have gone from poverty to industrialisation in modern times have done so with the help of the textile industry. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) states that the textile and clothing industry is unique in the global economy, due to its ability to help countries develop. At the same time, trade must be fair and sustainable to lead to a positive development. This is where customers and consumers come in. We have the option of voting for sustainable products and responsible businesses through our wallets. With our purchasing power we can make positive changes. In other words, conscious consumption leads to sustainable development. Why are third party certifications important? For the average consumer, knowing what we are buying and how a product is manufactured is not an easy task. Even for suppliers it can be difficult to know all the steps in the supply chain, since the chain is usually made up of many different links. With third party certification and labelling, both manufacturers and consumers get reliable guidance. Third party certification means: - Complete traceability from textile fibre to garment. All links in the supply chain are documented! - Reviewing and verification – by an independent organisation – to ensure compliance with the requirements. - Yearly visits and inspections to ensure the suppliers comply with the requirements. - Labels that are well-known on the market and help customers find sustainable products without hassle. What is organic cotton? Organic is a term used for the growing of crops – in this case cotton, which is of plant origin. Organic also means naturally balanced cultivation in accordance with internationally agreed criteria. In practice, organic cotton means three things: 1. No chemicals/pesticides! Any insecticides and herbicides used must be distributed manually. 2. No chemical fertilisers. 3. No genetically modified (GMO) crops. Apart from the obvious environmental benefits from organic cotton, there are other benefits as well. Cotton that is cultivated naturally and without the stress from fertilisers has a higher quality, with long, even and soft fibres. Clothing made from organic cotton means that the cotton used in the garments is organic, but the garments themselves may have been bleached, dyed or otherwise treated like conventionally manufactured clothes. So, while organic cotton is good, eco-labelled clothing is the best! Why? Because environmental requirements apply all the way from the raw materials, for example cotton, to the end product. Why is Fairtrade certified cotton important? Cotton is sometimes called The White Gold. It is a source of income for about 100 million households in over 70 different countries. But being a cotton farmer is not always easy. The competition on the global market is extremely tough, and the price of cotton has dropped significantly in the recent decades. This means severe difficulties for cotton farmers in developing countries, as they do not have the resources to compete with heavily subsidised cotton from wealthier countries, such as the USA. Fairtrade establishes criteria to guarantee that the farmer gets paid a minimum price covering the cost of sustainable production. The farmer also gets a bonus to be used for development in the local community, for example building a new school. Fairtrade is a security for farmers whose margins are already small. Each time you choose products made by Fairtrade certified cotton you help these farmers improve their working and living conditions. cottoVer® only uses Fairtrade certified cotton! How is the cotton production controlled? Can the labelling be trusted? For Fairtrade to certify cotton, each supplier in the supply chain must be certified by Flocert (an independent certification body). These inspections are repeated yearly, in order for the suppliers to keep their accreditation. In addition, every time the cotton or material is transported through the supply chain, a special traceability certificate called a Transaction Certificate is issued. That way, the certification body can con trol the flow of organic cotton, i.e. the amounts coming in to and is sent off by the supplier. And the numbers must add up. Our company, tg-h AB, has also been subject to inspections aimed at tracing our cotton flow, all the way to our warehouse and to the customer.