Lidl GB has announced that it will be the first UK retailer to convert all its cotton staff uniforms to Fairtrade, the independent, third-party certification that partners with farmers and workers to negotiate better prices, decent working conditions, and a fairer deal overall.
The uniform range is being rolled out across all stores, with a commitment to purchase 330,000 shirts, trousers, polo tops and chinos, and will be worn by the retailer’s 22,000 store colleagues. According to the supermarket chain this equates to a volume of 175 metric tonnes of Fairtrade certified cotton, benefitting farmers in India.
Fairtrade works with cotton farmers to stop or reduce the usage of agrochemicals and supports them to adapt to changing climate patterns. Fairtrade cotton fields are rain-fed, reducing the region’s water footprint. Fairtrade Standards aim to protect cotton farmers’ health and safety and ban genetically modified cotton seeds.
The announcement comes as Fairtrade Fortnight gets under way. Fairtrade Fortnight is an annual promotional campaign in the UK organized and funded once a year by the Fairtrade Foundation to raise awareness of Fairtrade products.
“Lidl’s uniform conversion means so much to cotton farmers who are finding themselves on the frontlines of the climate crisis and have suffered so much because of the global pandemic. To be able to sell their cotton on Fairtrade terms will help build farmers’ resilience and mean better prices plus a bit extra to invest in community projects,” said Anna Barker, head of responsible business at the Fairtrade Foundation.
Fairtrade International is an independent non-profit organization representing 1.9 million small-scale farmers and workers worldwide. It owns the Fairtrade Mark, a registered trademark of Fairtrade that appears on more than 37,000 products. The Fairtrade Mark on a product means that the Fairtrade ingredients in that product have been independently verified by Flocert, an independent certifier accredited by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).