Cottonconnect Appoints New Chair To Expand Work Among Retailer Brands And Cotton Farmers

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Ram Gidoomal CBE has been appointed as Chairman of CottonConnect, the organisation with a social mission to help retailers and brands create a more sustainable cotton supply chain.  Ram is also Chairman of Fair Trade pioneers Traidcraft plc and Traidcraft Exchange, so brings significant experience and ambition to the role.

“Brands selling cotton clothes and homeware products are reliant on a supply chain which is facing severe climate change impacts and water shortages. It is in everyone’s interest to work closely with organisations that can influence cotton farmers in conserving and making better use of resources.

CottonConnect offers an opportunity to make that happen. We have access and trust of the farmers through our partners – and we can scale-up our impact more than ten times over with the right support.  Failure to connect all parts of this supply chain will put the future of cotton at risk,” says Ram Gidoomal, Chairman of CottonConnect.

CottonConnect is pioneering a transparent and sustainable cotton supply chain from retailers to farmers to build a sustainable future for the cotton industry by:

1) Connecting retailer brands to cotton farmers and their supply chain – creating relationships, transparency and efficiency, delivering business value, reducing costs and building greater and more sustainable security of supply.

2) Improving cotton farmer livelihoods – helping farmers farm better by supporting them with business skills, access to finance, knowledge and expertise in farming practices – which are better for the farmer and for the environment.

3) Farmer education to share learnings and best practice – developing education programmes and networks of farmers groups to share knowledge, educate on farming techniques, helping smallholder farmers to farm safely and sustainably.

In the last four years, CottonConnect has worked with 130,000 farmers and their families in India, Pakistan and China, proving that basic interventions and education can make a huge difference.  CottonConnect has increased the land under sustainable cultivation by almost 300,000 acres and on average, it has also helped to reduce water usage of those farmers 20% (in many cases 30% to 60%).

Retailer brands need to take action on cotton urgently to protect the future of the cotton industry by working and collaborating together for greater impact – to:

1) Map and ensure greater transparency and closer relationships across the supply chain;

2) Support farmer training programmes for basic interventions;

3) Collaborate and help to fund initiatives to help drive cotton supply chain sustainability at scale.

CottonConnect already collaborates with major brands, including John Lewis, Primark, C&A Foundation along with the Better Cotton Initiative, to help improve relationships with farmers on the ground, improve resilience and share best practice in basic agricultural techniques and technologies, in cotton growing regions of the developing world.

Alison Ward, CEO of CottonConnect, comments: “We are delighted to welcome Ram on board as Chairman, and we look forward to expanding our work connecting retailers to cotton farmers, helping both to work closely together to create a sustainable cotton industry and better business for the future. There are many examples of the positive impact for the cotton industry and we hope more brands will be inspired to act.”