Clothing with a Conscience
January 7, 2008
Eco-friendly cotton from Africa is making its way onto the backs of U2 fans across the world, thanks to a new partnership between Hard Rock International and the ethical T-shirt brand edun LIVE. Founded by Ali Hewson and Bono, Edun contributes proceeds from the sale of its 100% African cotton tees to the Conservation Cotton Initiative (CCI), a program run by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). CCI will help lift African farmers out of poverty by providing education on environmentally-friendly land management, promoting organic cotton growing techniques, linking farmers to better paying markets, and integrating farming with wildlife conservation.
The new edun LIVE T-shirt, featuring an image by Bono, is part of Hard Rock International’s Signature Series. Begun in 1990, this philanthropic endeavor partners with world-renowned musicians and bands, who donate imaginative designs for reproduction onto T-shirts benefiting their charity of choice. Bono’s shirt is the 25th in the series, which has also included Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, and Shakira. Together, the group has helped raise millions of dollars for a number of charitable causes worldwide, such as Crossroads Centre Antigua, World Hunger Year, and Amnesty International.
In 2007, Edun and WCS established CCI to improve the livelihoods of communities in Africa by investing in sustainably harvested “conservation cotton.” The program will promote development of eco-friendly cotton farming around high biodiversity areas in Uganda, Zambia, and Madagascar to create sustainable livelihoods, enhance economic development, and improve resource management. Under CCI, farmers will enjoy the health and economic benefits that come from eliminating the use of inorganic pesticides and fertilizer and capture price premiums from market demand for organics. At the same time, they will effectively reduce the destruction of Africa’s unique wildlife and biodiversity.