What you should know
about the cotton industry

Cotton is everywhere. You can find products made with cotton in everyday products you use - your clothes, your bedsheets, your furniture, and more. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA),

“Cotton is one of the most important textile fibers in the world, averaging about 25 percent of total world fiber use.”



Around 100 million rural households are engaged in cotton production in more than 75 countries around the globe, according to Fairtrade International. In the hopes of increasing yields and incomes farmers are planting Genetically Modified Seeds (GMOs). In reality, “they are tied into buying expensive seeds and pesticides each year from multinational companies amid concerns that yields actually decline after initial gains.” This is not the only problem of conventionally grown cotton. In fact, United States Department of Labor reported that child labor and forced labor is used in 17 countries to process cotton. You can find the list of other goods that use child or forced labor HERE.

By the time final products reach the customers, farmers are forgotten. They have very little power in the supply chain. That is why Fairtrade Certification matters and your purchase of products made with Fairtrade Cotton makes a difference in the lives of farmers. 

Through our partnership with Fairtrade, we work with farmers from small cooperatives in India. Fairtrade Standards protect farmers’ health and safety, and encourages and empowers them to protect the natural environment. Fairtrade standards also prohibit the use of child labor. The benefits of Fairtrade go beyond just extra income for farmers – they also address issues like Gender Equality and Climate Change. 

How do Fairtrade Cotton farmers benefit when you purchase Fairtrade certified products? 

On top of the price farmers and workers receive for their produce or labor, they receive an extra sum of money to invest in improving the quality of their lives

 “There’s a lot of cotton out there, but when you opt for Fairtrade cotton goods you are empowering small-scale farmers and pushing the industry to become sustainable.” 

Learn more about Fairtrade America HERE
Learn more about Fairtrade International HERE. 

Producers receive a Fairtrade Minimum Price

The Fairtrade Minimum Price is the minimum that producers are paid when selling their products through Fairtrade. It aims to cover the average costs of sustainably producing their goods and acts as a safety net when market prices drop. Producers can get the market price when this is higher and can always negotiate for more.

Producers receive a Fairtrade Premium

The Fairtrade Premium is an extra sum of money paid on top of the selling price that farmers or workers invest in projects of their choice. They decide together how to spend the Fairtrade Premium to reach their goals, such as improving their farming, businesses, or health and education in their community.

Fairtrade Standards protect producers rights

The Fairtrade Standards are the requirements that producers and the businesses who buy their goods have to meet for a product to be Fairtrade certified. The Standards ensure fairer terms of trade between farmers and buyers, protect workers’ rights, and provide the framework for producers to build thriving farms and organizations.