For us, sustainability has both an environmental and social component. Organic certification is the primary tool for ensuring environmental sustainability. Organic cotton is grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers. This reduces costs to farmers and protects them from being exposed to toxic chemicals. Organic farming improves soils health and sequesters more carbon which helps to mitigate against climate change.
Fairtrade certification is the key mechanism that enables us to promote social sustainability. It ensures that producers not only get a fair price for their product, but that they are democratically organized. This latter requirement is essential in helping small producers to not only remain economically viable, but to move beyond subsistence farming to becoming key agents for local development in their communities. Fair trade also ensures fair working conditions for workers further up the value chain, including fair wages and the right to organize.