Textile & Garment Industry

The textile value chain is a complicated one. Take for example the t-shirts you wear: They have traveled all across the world, exposed to many steps of processing, before you bought them from your retailer. This makes sustainable sourcing and production a challenge. In 2013 Rana Plaza, an eight-story building housing several garment factories in Bangladesh, collapsed. Over a thousand people were killed. This was a shock too many. For KIT this re-confirmed a believe we have had for a long time: the textile industry will have to become more sustainable.

Relevant expertise

KIT is well-positioned to balance the business case for sustainable textiles, with knowledge on social and environmental impact. Businesses are vulnerable when social and environmental considerations are not taken into account. KIT works with a wide variety of clients: private sector companies, NGOs and the public sector. Relevant expertise includes:

  • Cotton production/processing and sourcing
    From farmer to ginner and spinner. Across Asia and Africa we hold decades of experience in developing and guiding programs related to sourcing cotton in a sustainable manner through small-scale farming.
  • Human rights and child labor
    Human rights are often still compromised and child labor remains a reality in some textile value chains. We are experienced in conducting fact-finding field work as well as in developing codes of conduct and recommendations on how to do continually improve your business. We can help you to develop a human rights policy, human rights risk assessments and human rights management systems.
  • Labor rights
    We consult with governmental organizations, businesses and NGOs on how to develop and implement relevant labor standards. We also have expertise on social auditing, stakeholder management, implementation of CSR policies, social impact assessments and business ethics.
  • Certification
    We support companies and NGOs in obtaining certification as well as supporting standard setters in crafting and refining their social and environmental standards.

Why KIT?

  • We back this up with a proven track record with experiences starting from the production of the cotton all the way up to the processing factories (see below for some examples of our featured projects).
  • We have all worked and lived abroad both in developed countries and emerging markets. We have an understanding of the risks and opportunities of the local context in developing countries, which reduces your risk and costs. We also give you access to local networks and potential partners.
  • As we have a multidisciplinary team you benefit from insights from other fields as well, such as experience on land governance and gender.
  • Although we have an overview due to our experience in many different sectors and across country, we are fans of hands-on practical results. Hence our research and advice is tailor-made to the client’s demand and focused on practical solutions. We provide value-for-money as solutions and recommendations will optimize investment costs.

A selection of the projects we have worked on:

logo-v.gatsby.fwClient: Gatsby Trust

Project: Alternative Crops Study Tanzania

Description: The Gatsby Foundation aims to restructure Tanzania’s cotton sector and support more than 400,000 farmers in their access to quality inputs and training to improve agronomic practices, increase yields and boost incomes. As cotton production is under pressure KIT was commissioned by the Gatsby Foundation to conduct an analysis of the range of options available for cotton farmers in the Lake Zone of Tanzania. A mixed methods approach relying on both quantitative and qualitative data, from 1500 surveys and 60 focus group discussions was used. Outputs were:

  • a survey tool that can be replicated in future seasons
  • a complete regionally representative survey of farmers in the Lake Zone that can be replicated in the years to come
  • a report with findings and the implications thereof for the programme’s activities

Time frame: Sep-Nov 2014

Full report is available here



logo better cotton in small.fwClient: DANIDA/IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative

Project: Progress Evaluation Better Cotton Initiative Fast Track Fund Mozambique

Description: KIT was commissioned by IDH, the sustainable trade initiative, to conduct a mid-term progress evaluation of the Better Cotton Fast Track Fund programme in Mozambique. With funding of DANIDA, IDH has financed operations of BCI Mozambique starting in 2012. The goal is to implement Better Cotton Principles while improving livelihoods for farmers. This is envisioned through a public partnership arrangement with the global supply chain company OLAM as the main implementing partner (and providing 50% of co-financing). The main activities of the program involved mostly the organization and training of farmer groups in order to produce cotton with higher productivity, better quality and more sustainable (social and environmental).

Time frame: April-June 2014


C&A_FOUNDATION_LOGO_654Client: C&A Foundation

Project: Organic Cotton Sector Mapping Study Tanzania

Description: Organic cotton supply is going down, yet large retailers and brands are looking to increase the amount of organic cotton in their supply chain. Two weeks of field work combined with desk research led to a clear indication of the current status of both the conventional and organic cotton sector in Tanzania, recommendations for upscaling organic cotton production and suggestions for relevant partnerships.

Public version of the report will be available soon.

Time frame: Oct 2014– Jan 2015


logo_iied_0 smallClient: International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

Project: Book/Report: Pro-poor certification: Assessing the benefits of sustainability certification for small-scale farmers in Asia

Description: Enabling small-scale farmers to engage in global markets for their produce is a pressing issue for many countries. Sustainability certification schemes such as organic, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Utz Certified and CAFÉ Practices can help small-scale farmers access new export markets. But do certification schemes and labelling strategies for products from particular geographical areas deliver benefits to poor and marginalised farmers? Using a review of the evidence and new case studies, this report assesses the relevance of certification schemes for coffee, tea and cotton farmers in China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Time frame: Jan 2015

Book available here