Anvil Knitwear Joins the Cotton Made in Africa Initiative

ban-startup-fridayAnvil Knitwear is known for their sustainable apparel which is made from a variety of fibers and blends such as certified organic cotton, transitional cotton, recycled cotton, and recycled PET bottles. The company announced a few days ago that it has joined the Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) initiative, becoming the first U.S.-based apparel manufacturer to do so.

The partnership is being overseen by the Aid by Trade Foundation, an organization that “aims to reduce poverty and promote economic development through market-based incentives.” The CmiA objective is to promote sales of sustainably grown cotton from Africa, which fits in well with Anvil’s social and environmental priorities.

Anvil is the largest consumer of U.S. organic cotton so this new partnership is yet another source of sustainable fiber for Anvil, which ties into the company’s evolving sustainable fiber strategy.

It is Anvil’s hope that by purchasing this cotton it will help African cotton farmers improve their living standards. According to Anthony Corsano, CEO of Anvil Knitwear in New York, the cotton made in Africa is “rain-fed, utilizes principles of soil conservation and reduced pesticides, and incorporates important ILO labor principles.”

For those of you that have purchased Anvil goods in the past, you may have visited their popular Track My T website, which brings consumers through the journey that their t-shirt has taken (each tee has a tracking number). From just a cotton seed on the farm, through the cotton gin, yarn spinner, textile mill, cut and sew facility, distribution center and then onto the consumer, you can get an inside look through the process.

With this new CmiA partnership, we’re interested to see the product traceability and to learn about the farmers who are growing the organic cotton in Africa. Currently, CmiA works in five African countries to help local people help themselves. So now, your tee could not only be coming from across the globe and made with organic cotton but you’re also helping farmers in Africa, too. All while staying affordable. We like that!

Kara is 3p's writer from New England. In her Newport, RI community, Kara is the organizer of Green Drinks Newport, is a member of Newport's Energy & Environment Commission, is a volunteer for the Neighborhood Energy Challenge, Norman Bird Sanctuary, and has also volunteered as a panelist for Rhode Island Farmways, speaking to farmers from around the state about how they can better market and promote their businesses. Beyond the moat that surrounds her island home, Kara has backpacked Mt. Washington in New Hampshire too many times to count and she hopes her next adventure will be to ski the gnarly Tuckerman's Ravine. Kara is a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, a graduate of the Colorado Outward Bound School and in real life, she is a public relations director who'd just plain like to see the world a greener place. Kara has been writing for TreeHugger.com since January 2005 and began writing for 3p in January 2010.