Since launching in 2009, Fou furnishings® has ensured its luxury hotel linens ® deliver on measurable and tangible environmental, social and economic initiatives for its hospitality clients, supply chain partners and guests.

Hospitality linens use cotton in vast quantities, whether renting or purchasing; but the supply of cotton textiles impacts the environment and lives of millions. The cotton guests sleep in is made from the most valuable agricultural product after food, but cotton is also labelled as the world’s “dirtiest” crop.

Sustainable cotton textiles protect the environment – in our own country and the country of origin. Fou furnishings® combines the high standards of both the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Fairtrade for hotel textiles and sustainable luxury. The social and environmental standards, defined by these two independent organisations, apply along the entire cotton value chain, resulting in hotel textiles that are produced fairly and sustainably.

Fou furnishings specialises in Fairtrade and organic hotel linens which means that that hotel clients can have visibility and consequently control of environmental and working conditions and impacts further down the supply chain.

Why select Organic or Fairtrade Cotton hotel linens?

1. It's better for the environment

Organic fibres are grown without the use of synthetic fertilisers or potentially toxic (polluting) pesticides. By building soil fertility, organic farmers help lock CO2 into the soil, helping mitigate climate change. It also avoids the use of the toxic pesticides that, in non-organic systems, are responsible for poisoning wildlife and rivers, as well as killing an estimated 16,000 people each year.

Simultaneously, the environmental impacts of cotton growing, and processing also directly link to the human story.

2. It's better for workers.

By avoiding potentially toxic and polluting pesticides, cotton workers benefit by avoiding the associated health problems and deaths common in non-organic cotton production. Avoiding pesticides also reduces production costs, improves cotton quality and farmer debts – the burden of pesticide debt has resulted in thousands of suicides in India which is the world’s largest cotton producer.

Fou furnishings sources its luxury hotel linens from two well established Fairtrade and organic Indian cotton projects which illustrate the huge positive and lasting impacts that supply chain changes can yield for the environment and those working in cotton. These projects are tackling the cotton supply chain for the hotels from the ground up; from cotton seed, to field to the final hotel product going to market. Cotton from the projects has supplied hotels and accommodation providers in the UK and across Europe.

The first project – demonstrates the tangible and sustainable difference to the farming groups where the cotton is sourced. The project has brought environmental and social improvements to 70 surrounding villages. Environmental improvements include the absence of soil erosion due to the introduction of multi-cropping and through the avoidance of pesticides. The multi-cropping process is introduced to improve food security which has the added benefit of improving soil health over the mono-crop culture of cotton.

The project also addresses societal needs, sustainability for the next generation through the provision of support and equipment to improve educational opportunities and experience, especially for girls.

The second project highlights the pioneering work of one Indian company and how changes to the extended supply chain can offer a win-win for the farmers and their families, the environment and the end users: international hotel brands. This organic farming project has helped to restore fertility to the soil in an area where the soil and water table were depleted, benefitting 16,000 farmers in six districts in Maharashtra and Odisha.

A focus on farmer product knowledge and education has also helped to promote the use of superior varieties of cotton which improves quality. These measures, combined with seeds grown in-house and natural pesticides, have helped cut input costs for farmers by up to 30 percent. A percentage of profits are also used for social welfare activities, from supporting women to set up micro-enterprises, to encouraging environmental improvements which in turn can support additional crops and income.