The cotton supply chain is full of devastating stories, as I describe in my recent article,“Did People Suffer For Your Cotton Shirt?” And even brands that want to source ethical cotton often can’t be sure what they’re getting, since the global supply chain is so fragmented and complicated.
Syona Home, a company founded by an Indian couple who have spent the past few decades working for Microsoft in Seattle, wanted to make sure their cotton bedsheets were suffering-free. They ended up partnering with Chetna Organic, a co-op that helps thousands of farmers harvest cotton without harmful chemical pesticides and pool their resources to create schools and hospitals that benefit the community. But they weren’t content to take the co-op’s word for it: They spent months in India going through each step of the supply chain, asking workers about their lives and workings conditions. “As Indians ourselves, we were equipped to verify the conditions on the ground, and so we felt the responsibility to do so,” cofounder Sukanta Nanda, explains.