German e-commerce giant Otto Group has partnered with the Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative to shine a spotlight on sustainability in its latest advertising campaign.

The mail order giant's TV commercial is the first to be based on the issue of sustainability and seeks to raise awareness of sustainable fashion among consumers.

"We want the campaign to call attention to the issue and engender a sense of responsibility," says Dr Michael Heller, member of the Otto management board for categories and deputy spokesperson. "Otto has been backing Cotton made in Africa for over ten years and helps almost 700,000 African smallholders to grow cotton more efficiently and more sustainably."

CmiA is an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF), and works to improve the lives of cotton farmers in Africa by educating them about efficient and sustainable cotton cultivation methods.

According to Otto, 75% of its own-brand products are made with CmiA, and by 2020 the company hopes to see this figure rise to 100%.

"In promoting fashion from the Cotton made in Africa initiative, we are not cutting back on quality or style," adds Anja Dillenburg, head of corporate responsibility at Otto. "But we are cutting greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption. This is good both in terms of preserving the natural resources and protecting the health of the people who grow our cotton. It is therefore a positive way to make consumers a little more conscious of sustainability as they go through life."

Tina Stridde, managing director of Cotton made in Africa, adds: "It is a great result for us to see that our partner Otto is consistently changing over to purchasing sustainable raw material. In broadcasting this advertisement, Otto is demonstrating how important the Cotton made in Africa initiative is for the company.

"Shining the spotlight on the concerns of smallholders in a large-scale advertising campaign is a major step forwards for the future."

CmiA recently joined the UK's Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) to help retailers and brands reduce the carbon, waste and water footprint of their clothing by sourcing its certified cotton.

Cotton made in Africa joins sustainable clothing plan