A tour of more sustainable cotton cultivation in India

We at Marimekko believe that collaboration between industry players promotes solutions to the challenges of our sector. We have been part of the Better Cotton Initiative project since 2013, because we want to promote solutions to challenges related to cotton production. Of the cotton we procured in 2017, 53 percent was more sustainably produced Better Cotton.

Our Quality Manager Leena Tarvainen joined more than 20 people from our industry on a Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) field trip in India, where more sustainable cotton cultivation sites were visited.

BCI is an organisation training cotton farmers in more sustainable cultivation methods. The goal is to reduce the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers and to replace them with natural substances. This is good for nature, harvest productivity, and farmers’ health alike.

A visit to Khargone in Madhya Pradesh state in central India took us to the source of one of the raw materials for our products. On our tour, we were able to see all the various stages of cotton production. We visited the village of Gadaghat, where most of the villagers earn their living by growing cotton. The village has some 140 cotton farmers in all, and 115 of them are already part of BCI.

In the village, we were told in detail about the training for the farmers and we were shown, among other things, various materials used to train cultivators, some of whom were illiterate. BCI has an extensive team of trainers who coach smallish groups of about 10 farmers at a time.

We at Marimekko work perseveringly to be able to tell our customers more and more about the materials used in our products and we are committed to increasing the transparency of our supply chain towards the raw material production in the long run.