Response by Paul Reinhart
Please find here below our comments related to the Public Eye report which has been published:
Governments in Central Asian Republics have focused on investments in local cotton processing and nowadays cotton is mainly exported as yarn and textiles. As a consequence only limited quantities of raw cotton are available for export and Paul Reinhart AG has thus either closed or greatly reduced its local presence. Concerns related to labor practices in the cotton fields of Central Asia have been addressed by the cotton trader community since several years. By remaining engaged with countries and conducting solution-orientated dialogues with all parties involved, including the ILO, our leverage could be strengthened and the situation on the ground has improved in recent years.
Reinhart’s philosophy is based on dialogue, commitment and partnership with all organizations involved. We recognize the human rights challenges along the agricultural value chain. In Africa, we collaborate with expert organizations and initiatives such as the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and the Aid by Trade Foundation (Cotton made in Africa – CmiA). These organizations aim to improve the living conditions and sustainable agriculture practices of farmers and their families.
All cotton purchased by Reinhart in Burkina Faso is certified by the label “Cotton made in Africa” (seewww.cottonmadeinafrica.org). The CmiA standards aim to improve the farmers education and agriculture knowledge which is key for sustainable development from which the children benefit directly. The standards are comprehensive and regularly checked through verification missions by independent and qualified third-party auditors.
In addition, Reinhart founded the African Cotton Foundation in 2018 together with partners from various interest groups aiming to work with international donors to improve the living conditions of small holder farmers in Sub Saharan Africa.