How We Work

Zameen Organic Pvt. Ltd (Zameen) is a farmer-owned company in India that produces and markets fair trade and organic cotton. In the Hindi language, Zameen is the word for soil. Healthy soil is crucial to Zameen’s philosophy, which seeks to maximize three stocks of capital: financial wealth, social capital, and bio diversity.

The fundamental logic and purpose of Zameen is to alter the current value chain for cotton and redistribute value from intermediaries to rural farm communities where cotton is grown and where the least amount of profit is usually realized. The redistribution of value at Zameen takes two forms.

  • First, farmers are paid a fair price for their farming efforts.
  • Second, Zameen farmers have the opportunity to buy shares in the company and earn dividends from this company stock.

Zameen’s business model is to directly connect the farmers with the consumer, bypassing several steps in the traditional textile value chain. The company’s restructuring of the value chain from producer to consumer, the fact that farmers are also stockholders, and the company’s focus on a multiple bottom line are three defining characteristics of Zameen.


Farmer Ownership

Zameen believes in the 'trade, not aid' approach to rural development, and so do our farmers who are investing their own capital into Zameen. For every ton of raw cotton we buy from our farmers, we set aside an organisation development expense of 1,100 rupees (approximately £15) to invest in Zameen.

By 'buying in' Zameen farmers have a vested interest in the company doing well. The farmers rightly scrutinise our operations, making their opinions known and are committed and engaged with the process due to their vested interest.

Agriculture and Organic Farming Group (AOFG) AOFG Partnership

Zameen has a close partnership with AOFG, a non-profit NGO. AOFG's aim is to facilitate the development of independent, legally-registered farmer cluster associations that are self managed and able to directly sell organic Fairtrade cotton to buyers to strict international requirements. It focuses on building management teams, establishing business infrastructure (offices and storage facilities) and increasing the technical capacity of the organic farmers (to increase yields and profit potential).

Guaranteeing a transparent supply chain

By providing brands and farmers with direct access to each others' resources, Zameen reduces supply chain complexities and creates a transparent process. Direct access means minimising the supply chain to maximise benefits to farmers; cutting out middlemen and moving up the value chain.

An example of this is Zameen's partnership with Alok Industries. We entered into a three year contract with Alok, a FLO certified textile company and one of the largest mills in Asia, to guarantee the ethical credentials of our supply chain. All Zameen cotton is processed by Alok which enables us to track every product right back to our farms. Brands can be confident that their products are made to the highest ethical standards from start to finish, and they are able to inspect conditions if they choose. Zameen's long term goal is to move up the value chain, integrating manufacturing processes into our business model.