S.Oliver Group’s Empowering Farmers programme supports almost 400 farmers in India with the cultivation of organic cotton and the brand says the cotton will be be used for its spring/summer 2024 collection and available in the first half of 2024.

The programme, which emerged from the Partnership Initiative for Organic Cotton in India, of which the S.Oliver Group has been a member since April 2022, aims to strengthen the livelihoods of farmers and their families while ensuring transparency along the entire supply chain. 

It is led by the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles and the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) and aims to build environmentally friendly and economically viable supply chains. 

S.Oliver Group says it works closely with the Vasudha cooperative and is committed to purchasing a defined quantity of certified organic cotton or cotton in conversion over a period of three years.

The German fashion Group is quick to point out that small farms receive a premium that is above the market price to incentivise them to switch from conventional to organic cultivation.

S.Oliver Group adds the cooperative enables the farms involved to receive targeted training, visits to model farms and the exchange of experiences. The farmers are also advised and supported in the certification of the fields and cotton.

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S.Oliver Group’s chief product officer Sonja Balodis says: “Responsible management is a central value for us as a family company. With the Empowering Farmers programme, we not only contribute to our sustainability strategy for materials and fibres, in which we want to consistently increase the proportion of more sustainable products for our customers. By focusing on organic cotton and supporting local initiatives, we can also make a valuable contribution to both environmental protection and working and living conditions in cultivation.”

S.Oliver highlights that in comparison to conventional production, no chemical fertilisers, pesticides or genetically modified seeds are used in organic cultivation.

Last month the brand entered into a strategic partnership with German tech company Retraced to leverage its platform, focusing on critical human rights issues such as digital risk management and implementing risk prevention measures in the supply chain.

This joint effort aims to promote accountability and responsible practices throughout the fashion industry.

In May, it backed the EU Commission’s proposal for the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), which seeks to embed considerations for human rights and environmental preservation into the very fabric of business decisions and governance structures within European companies.