The Unilever Global Development Award: Cotton On Group in partnership with Business for Development

Award Type: 

Longlisted for a Business in the Community Responsible Business Award


Action and Impact

Kwale and Lamu are regions in Kenya which have experienced low agricultural yields largely due to farmers having insufficient training in sustainable farming techniques and poor soil management. The local communities have also been negatively impacted by limited access to formal education, low household incomes and rising food prices which among other factors have led to a vicious cycle of poverty.

It is here that the Cotton On Group has set up its first sustainable cotton programme, in partnership with B4D, Base Titanium and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The initiative sees the organisation – an Australian fashion retailer with seven brands and a philanthropic arm – work with smallholder farmers to help them transition from self-sufficiency farming to more sustainable and prosperous farming methods that have a greater economic, environmental and social impact, boosting agricultural productivity in the region and creating a pathway out of poverty.

“We're committed to supporting ethically and sustainably-sourced cotton and are on a journey to achieving 100% more sustainable cotton in our supply chain by 2021. In order to get there, we’ve partnered with the Better Cotton Initiative and launched this, our first sustainable cotton programme in Kwale County, Kenya,” says James Hubbard, General Manager for Risk and Sustainability for the company.