Raw Materials


Avon and Cotton made in Africa announce partnership

Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) is thrilled to announce its first partnership in the cosmetics sector, with Avon. Avon is part of Brazil-based Natura &Co, one of the world’s largest cosmetics groups. As part of Avon’s ambitious sustainability commitments, it has pledged to use more renewable materials in its supply chains and improve the impact of its products on people and planet. This collaboration with CmiA marks a major step in terms of cotton sustainability for Avon.

“In addition to using sustainably produced raw materials, we aim to achieve certification and traceability and to address both environmental and social aspects for our products containing cotton,” states Natalie Deacon, Avon’s global sustainability head, continuing, “For instance, we have set ourselves the target of using only cotton that is traceable, by 2025, and certified, by 2030. CmiA is the ideal partner to support us in pursuit of this goal, which also contributes to a better world for women, as women play a vital part in CmiA’s work in Africa.”

The CmiA standards set out clear criteria regarding gender equality and women’s empowerment, encouraging the non-discriminatory provision of resources, services, and opportunities. This includes pay and benefits, terms and conditions of employment, complaint mechanisms, and flexibility regarding work, training, and other opportunities available to women at the farm and ginnery levels.

“We are happy to welcome Avon as our first partner from the cosmetics sector,” says Tina Stridde, the managing director of the Aid by Trade Foundation, adding, “This partnership helps us to expand training and projects for climate resilience and to further extend the social and environmental advantages of sustainable cotton cultivation for small-scale farmers in Africa and their families.”

As a new purchaser of CmiA-certified cotton for products including women’s nightwear, Avon can rely on CmiA’s Hard Identity Preserved (HIP) system, which ensures full transparency and traceability for raw materials all throughout the textile value chain, from the field to the final product. Avon also benefits from this partnership in that CmiA cotton has been proven to have a smaller environmental footprint than other cotton; it is produced without irrigation or genetically modified seeds. Revenue generated by selling licences for sustainably produced CmiA cotton flows back to small-scale farmers, including women, in keeping with AbTF’s social business approach.

This involves reinvesting the revenue as funding for training in regenerative cultivation methods and in business fundamentals and for improving biodiversity. In addition to reducing the environmental footprint of cotton production, CmiA promotes human rights and non-discrimination for women and fosters equal access and control over resources for men and women. CmiA thus improves the overall living circumstances of the small-scale farming families.[1]

There are currently around 900,000 small-scale farmers cultivating CmiA-certified cotton in ten countries in Africa South of the Sahara. Consumers can identify these products through their Cotton made in Africa labels. The first products will become available in the second quarter of 2024.

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