The Village Carbon Insetting project aims to address the issues of carbon emissions and social equity within the fashion industry’s supply chain. By creating a financially, environmentally, and socially sustainable ecosystem, the project seeks to bring together fashion brands, textile manufacturers, spinners, ginners, and BCI (Better Cotton Initiative) cotton farmers to work towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as other national and sectoral goals.
The project is currently being implemented in the cotton-growing South Punjab region of Pakistan. The project has installed various clean energy solutions such as Solar PV Microgrids (5kW -10 kW), Clean Energy Dhabas (village microenterprises powered through clean energy while also offering energy-efficient products and services), and Clean Cookstoves (at the household as well as enterprise levels). The impact of these solutions is being studied to identify learnings, insights, and scalability. To make the upfront cost of these solutions affordable for the poorer farming community, leading microfinance organizations have also been brought in.
SAMA^Verte (previously HIMA^Verte) is the main international partner for UK-based Pilio Group, which has facilitated not just the envisioning of the project but also the creation of relevant partnerships, resource mobilization, community engagement, technology implementation, and impact study. The project has also established relationships with WWF Pakistan, KASHF Foundation, School of Science & Engineering at LUMS, Farmers Development Organization, and other organizations to create the intended business model that aims to achieve environmental and social impacts, including access to clean and affordable energy, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, creation of livelihoods, improving conditions for women, training and education, and access to finance, among others.
The project’s efforts in the South Punjab region are crucial because cotton production has a significant impact on the environment and the people involved in the production process. The use of conventional energy sources and harmful chemical inputs in the cotton production process leads to high carbon emissions, environmental degradation, and health hazards for the farmers and workers. By introducing clean energy solutions and promoting natural colored cotton, the project aims to reduce carbon emissions, save water and energy, reduce chemical inputs, improve livelihoods, and empower women. Additionally, the project’s focus on creating a sustainable cotton brand that follows the principles of triple bottom line (profits, people, and planet) provides an opportunity for innovation, better market access, and higher income for the farmers involved. Overall, the Village Carbon Insetting project’s success in the South Punjab region can serve as a model for sustainable cotton production and supply chain management in the fashion industry.