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Cotton made in Africa Carbon Neutral: A New Initiative by the Aid by Trade Foundation for CO2-Neutral Cotton

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cmiThe climate crisis is the most important issue of our time. The effects of global warming are clearly noticeable throughout the world. We hear more and more about the growing devastation wrought by flooding, long droughts, and unusual heat waves. The climate impact of textiles is now shifting into focus, and the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) is tackling the issue together with atmosfair, a well-regarded non-profit organisation with many years of experience in climate protection. The product of their collaboration is the Cotton made in Africa Carbon Neutral initiative, which provides a basis for a more climate-friendly textile supply chain.

Through CmiA Carbon Neutral, the Aid by Trade Foundation offers sustainable cotton verified according to the Cotton made in Africa standard while gradually reducing and offsetting greenhouse gas emissions at every stage from cotton production to ginning. For example, solar arrays are projected to progressively replace conventional, mixed power sources at ginneries.[1] In places where no reductions can be made at this time or in the long term, the remaining CO2 emissions are compensated for, primarily by switching to cooking stoves that are significantly more energy efficient, thereby lowering greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the number of trees cut down for firewood, and protecting people’s health as less smoke and noxious gases are produced.

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 A Key Contribution to the Decarbonisation of the Textile Supply Chain

“With CmiA Carbon Neutral, the Aid by Trade Foundation is making a key contribution to the decarbonisation of the entire textile supply chain. The global textile industry has recognised how significant textiles are in terms of climate change,” explains Tina Stridde, the Managing Director of the Aid by Trade Foundation. Cotton production accounts for around 0.3 to 1 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.[2] Numerous companies have set climate goals and are now looking for ways to meet them. Carefully selecting the raw material can already make a big difference. “Cotton made in Africa offers a reliable and effective approach to protect nature. By lowering greenhouse gas emissions and using less water, Cotton made in Africa verified cotton already has a smaller environmental footprint than the global average for cotton production.[3] CmiA Carbon Neutral is the fruit of our continued efforts to provide pioneering solutions for a more sustainable textile sector,” continues Stridde.

Dr Hansjörg Zeller, the Team Leader for New Technologies at atmosfair, adds, “CmiA Carbon Neutral offers companies that are already implementing ambitious climate goals of their own additional, effective climate-protection measures in and around their own value chains, thereby supporting these companies in their ambitions.”

Making a Real Difference on the Climate and Building Resilience for Small-Scale Farmers

By reducing and offsetting greenhouse gases emitted during cotton production and processing, the Aid by Trade Foundation is pursuing a holistic strategy that prioritises the inclusion of CmiA small-scale farmers and their families and makes a point of ensuring that individual measures have a positive impact for this target group. These farming families have long been directly affected by the climate crisis, and their very existence is now under threat. Apart from its reduction and compensation efforts with atmosfair, the foundation is working to create a series of additional (pilot) projects in the area of climate-smart agriculture. ”. Through innovative agricultural practices, these projects aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and permanently bind atmospheric CO2 to the soil, for example by building up humus. The overall objective is for small-scale farmers to develop greater resilience to climate change.