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transparency & fairness – our farmers & stitchers

Our Organic & Fairtrade Cotton Farmers India
RREPP sources 100% of its Organic Fairtrade cotton from Chetna Organics (NPOP & NOP Organic certification). Chetna works with over 35000 farmers (70% Male and 30% Women) in the rainfed regions of Odisha, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, with over 43000 acres of certified organic land under its stewardship. It's vision since 2004 has been to lift small holder rural cotton farmers out of historically ingrained poverty by providing a working model towards enhanced living standards. Whilst also promoting sustainability through social, environmental and economic initiatives.

Key impacts have been:

* Over 140 villages converted to 100% Organic & Fairtrade cotton farming

* Food security ensured for all Chetna farmers

* 1.5 million biomass tress planted by Chetna farmers

* 40% female representation on all cooperative boards

* Increase in household income by 47%

* Reduction in migration away from cotton farming from 38% to 3%

* Reduction in dependence of money lenders & debt from 71% to 11%

* Chetna farmers own a 10% share in our garment manufacturer Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills Ltd (RCM)

* Fairtrade ensures a minimum cotton price to Chetna farmers even if cotton futures prices drop below this level.

TESTIMONIAL:

'My name is Anand Pradhan and I am an organic cotton farmer in Tentulipada village in Odisha. I am married with 3 children. Although I hold a graduate degree, I was unable to find work so turned to farming. Yet in 2004 our farming community suffered large losses. Times were very tough for a number of years. In 2007 the Chetna Organic Farmers Association approached our village with a new strategy. They firstly provided confidence building initiatives, then capacity building guidelines, cost reduction strategies and productivity enhancements. Our whole village is now 100% organic. And Fairtrade has transformed the lives of many farmers with their environmentally friendly practices plus guaranteeing a stable market price for our cotton. And there is also the Fairtrade premium that allows our community to spend more money on education, health and other community initiatives. We feel valued, and the farmers in our cooperative are now also more aware of the end consumer, due to the transparency and respect we receive in our supply chain.'

Our Fairtrade Garment Stitchers India
RREPP's garment manufacturing supply chain is one of the most transparent and ethical found anywhere in the world. This in an industry that is renowned for its exploitive work practices and unsustainable fast fashion business models.

Outside the spinning of our organic cotton by Sagar Manufacturers Pvt Ltd, all our other manufacturing processes are carried out by Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills (RCM) in India, or other Indian based businesses under their scope. RCM's ethical accreditation's include FLOCERT (Fairtrade International), SA8000, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOT's), and Fairtrade USA.

RCM has 3 Unions - CITU (Centre of Indian Trade Union), INTTUC (Indian National Trinamool Trade Union Congress), and BMS (Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh). All have national level recognition and almost 100% of RCM employees are Union members.

Being SA8000 accredited and Fairtrade USA certified, 'LIVING WAGES' as a minimum are paid to RCM's lowest paid workers. These wage benchmarks are reviewed every 6 months and align those devised by the Global Living Wage Coalition which has Fairtrade International as partners as well as living wage pioneers Richard and Martha Ankar.

Social initiatives benefiting RCM employees include:

* Subsidised food in the canteen.

* Free transportation to and from work

* Free Health check-ups

* A labour welfare fund for scholarships for employees children, and provision for spending their holidays with family in RCM holiday homes situated in various parts of India.

* Fairtrade premium benefits include the distribution of sewing machines, bicycles, home appliances, and children education projects

* Eye (Cataract) operations are organised every year for the community and for the senior family members of employees.

* Support initiatives for the disabled.

* Distribution of garments to orphanage homes run by the various NGOs.

* Garment distribution during floods, to communities in need across the province.

TESTIMONIAL:

'My name is Kakoli Paul and I work as a thread cutter in the embroidery department at The Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills Ltd Kolkata, India since the year 2010. On receiving Fair Trade Premium I have fulfilled my dream of assisting my only son to start up a Motor Cycle Repairing garage. He is 27 years old and formerly unemployed. I am really happy that my son is now settled and earning and contributing to the family. I am also thankful to our Fair Trade Brands who are developing economically by paying regular FT premium to us. I assure that I will always maintain good quality work for their products'

RREPP's fully transparent supply chain flow chart, and Baptist World Aid's latest Ethical fashion report can be found on our website here https://www.rrepp.com.au/79/australian-ethical-fashion-report

Nasir Mehmood Rana (Born 1982) Sports Ball Stitcher Pakistan
Meet Nasir Mehmood Rana. He is one of many Sports Ball Stitchers that work for our Fairtrade certified manufacturer in Pakistan. He has been working here for over 7 years and has immense gratitude for what Fairtrade has been able to provide for himself and his family. His two children, Zain Ali (boy) and Arooj Nasir (girl) have been advantaged by the Education Assistance Program which is a focus of the Fairtrade Premium Committee (Joint Body), where workers children are provided with school bags, notebooks, pencils, and other educational items every year. Other benefits include, excellent stitching rates, free eye care and subsidised glasses, free transport for workers to and from work. Free diabetes checks and an onsite Fairtrade shop where grocery items and other essentials are subsidised for workers and their families, are added worker benefits. And on a larger scale, RREPP's Fairtrade dollar contributions have also gone towards funding water purification plants located just outside our Sports Ball factory gates. Where anyone in the community can take advantage of freely available clean safe drinking water.

Nasir is also privileged to have been selected as an important member of the Fairtrade Premium Committee which meets at least once per month to decide on how to use the Fairtrade premiums that come from businesses such as RREPP. For every sports Ball purchased, we contribute 10% back for existing and future project funding, plus an additional 5% to assist our Producer with the costs associated to being Fairtrade certified and third party audited. So the Fairtrade system is not only fair, it is also highly accountable. It's an absolute privilege for RREPP to be working with supply chains that also have social justice at the core of their own mission statements. Especially in industries such as sports ball manufacturing where worker exploitation and child labour continues to be a hidden issue.

The 'Living Wage' calculation as set by the Global Living Wage Coalition for Urban workers in Sialkot's sports ball manufacturing industry is $193.00 USD per month. Yet most sports ball suppliers in Australia only pay Pakistan's minimum wage requirement which is a hugely inadequate $128.00 USD per month. A wage that keeps working families and communities in permanent poverty.

Through our Fairtrade certification RREPP's lowest paid sports ball stitchers are paid a wage package that exceeds the Global Living Wage Coalitions wage calculation, and is made up of the following income and benefits (averaged out per month) for a full time worker:

* Wage $150.00 USD per month on average

* Benefit from onsite subsidised Fairtrade Grocery Shop $4.00 USD per month

* Benefit from accessing free filtered water for entire families $39.00 USD per month

* Benefit from free annual eye checks $1.00 USD per month

* Benefit from free annual diabetes checks $0.20 USD per month

* Benefit from free transport to and from work $17.00 USD per month

* Benefit from free school kits (books, bags, stationary) for kids $1.00 USD per month

Total Living Wage package for RREPP's lowest paid Fairtrade ball stitches equates to $212.20 USD per month

More than 70% of our sports ball stitchers working in our factory are members of a union with all stitching and manufacturing processes taking place in-house with nil outsourcing. Our factories are fully audited by Fairtrade.

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