Supporting Smallholders to Access Sustainable Supply Chains: Lessons from the Indian Cotton Supply Chain

Authors

  • Laia Fayet,

    Corresponding author
    1. Researcher, MSc in Sustainable Development Intern Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht, the Netherlands
    • Correspondence to: Laia Fayet, Senior Business Management and CSR consultant, Ingeniería Social, Barcelona, Spain. E-mail: laia.fayet@gmail.com

      Correspondence to: Dr W.J.V. Vermeulen, Utrecht University, Faculty of Geosciences, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht, the Netherlands. E-mail: w.j.v.vermeulen@uu.nl

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  • Walter J.V. Vermeulen

    Corresponding author
    1. Utrecht University, Faculty of Geosciences, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht, the Netherlands
    • Correspondence to: Laia Fayet, Senior Business Management and CSR consultant, Ingeniería Social, Barcelona, Spain. E-mail: laia.fayet@gmail.com

      Correspondence to: Dr W.J.V. Vermeulen, Utrecht University, Faculty of Geosciences, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht, the Netherlands. E-mail: w.j.v.vermeulen@uu.nl

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ABSTRACT

A significant number of different sustainable initiatives have emerged to improve sustainability and inclusion of small farmers in global supply chains. These include production process adjustment advice and implementation of different sustainable product standards. In practice two different approaches are taken. Development projects focus on enabling farmers to adjust their practices to Organic, Fairtrade and other standards requirements. In international trade, buyers from developed countries implement separate supply chain assurance systems. This article presents nine case studies of practices from both approaches in the cotton supply chain in India.

The results show improvements in the livelihoods of small farmers but increased market access depends on what approaches are used. The future challenge is to combine the different approaches, creating market links and enhancing supply chain efficiency while providing development support at community levels. With such a balance it will be possible to assure project sustainability and maximize long-term economical, environmental and social benefits. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment

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