Can using blockchain to verify cotton as organic help revive the industry in Haiti?
By Ben Schiller
Haiti hasn’t grown cotton in decades. Its once-abundant industry collapsed in the 1970s due to government corruption, economic mismanagement, and U.S. embargoes. But now, thanks to a project involving thousands of smallholder farmers, apparel brands like Timberland, and a blockchain network, it could be set for a comeback. Within a few years, if all goes to plan, the island will be supplying millions of pounds of organic cotton for shoes, shirts, and other clothing sold in U.S. stores.
Last week, smallholder farmers convened in a field on the outskirts of Gonaives, Haiti to harvest cotton for the first time in 30 years. Once Haiti’s fourth largest export crop, cotton growing stopped in the 1980s due to policies and politics of the time.
by Atlanta McIlwraith, senior manager of community engagement, Timberland
I hadn’t been to Haiti since June 2010, six months after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that decimated much of the island. At that time, there were still many ruins of collapsed buildings, piles of rubble along the roadsides, and thousands of people living in makeshift tent camps. This August, I returned to Haiti and saw a very different country. While the earthquake left an indelible mark, I saw a Port-Au-Prince that was back on its feet, vacant fields that had once hosted tented communities, and tree nurseries that had brought resources to smallholder farmer communities.
By: Zack Angelini, Manager of Environmental Stewardship, Timberland
At Timberland, we strive to be Earthkeepers in everything we do. We work hard to make our products responsibly, to protect the outdoors, and to serve the communities around the globe where we live, work and explore. My role focuses on responsible product.
As one of the leading footwear and apparel brands in the world, we recognize that the majority of our environmental impact lies within the products we make and the materials we choose. But within these materials also lies our greatest opportunity to make a difference.
Cotton represents nearly half the fiber used to make clothes and other textiles worldwide. But the economically valuable fiber is also a water-hungry crop to produce. It can take between two to five thousand gallons of water to produce two pounds of cotton—about equal to a tee shirt and a pair of jeans. And then there is the heavy use of chemicals to protect the vulnerable plant from insects, weeds, and disease. How could this widely grown and useful fiber be grown more sustainably?
The European Parliament is currently under pressure to reject the Uzbekistan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, and cease the trade of textiles with Uzbekistan. This pressure stems from strong evidence that forced labor and child labor continues to remain a nationwide practice in Uzbekistan, despite earlier reports of compliance.
Integrating cotton farming, tree planting and food security with a new enterprise model has potential to connect Haitian smallholder farmers to the global economy
NEW YORK, November 9, 2016 /3BL Media/ – Today, the nonprofit Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) announced two breakthrough innovations being proposed for agriculture in Haiti. The announcement was made at the Haiti Funders Conference in New York City, the third annual gathering of donors and investors focused on the goal of achieving sustainability in Haiti, a country still reeling from the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew in early October.
This really is a genius design concept from editor Ellen Pollock and creative director Rob Vargas. On the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek’s fourth annual “The Year Ahead” issue, out today in the U.S. and internationally Friday, is the familiar sight of a New York City newsstand.
MONTRÉAL, September 26th, 2016 /3BL Media/ – Gildan Activewear Inc. (GIL; TSX and NYSE) is pleased to announce that the company has joined the Cotton LEADS™ program. This program is committed to the use of best practices and traceability in the cotton supply chain.
With more companies increasing the amount of business being conducted over seas and the expansion of their supply chains, more focus is being brought to their attention in regard to slavery and forced labor. October 1st has past and now new provisions will take effect from the Modern Day Slavery Act. This is an effort to increase enforcement and visibility in these supply chains to ensure this type of business practice is not used.