As a major textile retailer, ALDI is always looking to find innovative ways to help improve the textile supply chain in a sustainable manner. Organic cotton uses far less water and pesticides, but only 1% of global cotton is grown organically. Transitioning from conventional to organic cotton farming can take up to three years. During this time, cotton farmers experience a loss in yield and face increased costs as they do not get a premium payment for organic cotton. Without the right assistance, almost 50% of the farmers will not be able to make the move.
To support these farmers and to increase the amount of organic, environmentally and socially-friendly grown cotton on the international market, ALDI not only purchases "GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) organic - in conversion" cotton for our ALDI textile products. We are also directly helping around 1,000 smallholders farmers in the Indian region of Maharashtra in their move to organic cotton by guaranteeing to buy their cotton and by paying additional premiums to compensate for yield losses. ALDI is working in cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), our business partner G. Güldenpfennig GmbH, and our implementation partners Basil and AFPRO.
By committing to directly sourcing cotton from these farmers, we can secure their businesses whilst they are in the certification process. In addition, we are providing them with training and support in organic production, including soil fertility tests and high-quality seeds. ALDI will sell products made from the cotton that originates from this initiative and will label the harvest of year 2 and year 3 as cotton “GOTS organic in conversion”, making it visible to our customers.
This cooperation on the ground will promote our commitment to not only source more sustainably, but also to provide our customers with an even more diverse and better product selection.