International Cooperation and Development

Bottom UP for sustainable textile in Ethiopia

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Ethiopia is relying greatly on the cotton and garment industry, a fast growing economy that represents the second most important growth sector in the country.

However, the government is facing challenges linked to working conditions and workers’ rights. Some reported wages are sometimes as low as 26 USD, which is far below the World Bank poverty line.

Bottom UP! was launched during the 2019 International conference on cotton, textile & apparel value chain in Africa and was set-up with the support of the EU by Solidaridad, Cotton made in Africa, Danish Ethical Trading Initiative (DIEH) and MVO Nederland to create  a sustainable, transparent and inclusive value chain.

Bottom UP! is contributing to create a value chain that generates business growth, improves working conditions, promotes labour and environmental standards, and responsible purchasing practices in the cotton and textiles industry in Ethiopia and Europe by 2021.

Goals and activities

One of the objectives of the project is to promote and advocate the adoption of responsible social and environmental practices benchmarked with international standards in Ethiopia by 14 cotton and garment producers, comprising 19,200 workers and 2,000 farmers along the value chain.

The second goal is to promote transparency and responsible purchasing practices along the value chain among 175 EU businesses, and to promote responsible buying behaviour to 1.2 million consumers in the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany.

Bottom UP! will achieve these goals through a range of activities:

  • provide quality inputs, trainings and technical support to cotton farmers, commercial farms and ginneries for sustainable practices and standards, facilitate sales contracts with factories for the uptake of sustainable cotton
  • technical support to factories to adopt sustainable practices, decent work program for factories, IT system implemented at 4 factories to improve measurement and transparency of performance
  • industry workshops organised with 8 factories to learn/exchange, best practices shared at national level with key stakeholders, support a production standard on sustainable cotton endorsed by key government institutions
  • mapping potential suppliers of international buyers, organise match making session with factories
  • industry-wide workshops, trade missions, communication outlets, webinars on Buyers Fora
  • interactive consumer activation campaign and public relations/media-campaign