Launch of "From Field to Fanshop" sustainability initiative

  • Trip to cotton producers in the western Indian state of Gujarat
  • Initiative for fair fan articles extended to nine Bundesliga soccer teams
  • First items from the initiative available in fan stores from summer 2023 onwards

Berlin, January 31st, 2023 – The "From Field to Fanshop" initiative, which was launched by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) together with the textile company Brands Fashion, travelled to India for a kick-off visit to the project region. The initiative includes nine soccer clubs from the 1st and 2nd German Bundesliga, which are jointly committed to foster sustainability in fan merchandise. In addition to 1. FC Union Berlin, Arminia Bielefeld, Eintracht Frankfurt, Hamburger SV, SV Werder Bremen, VfB Stuttgart, and VfL Wolfsburg, Borussia Dortmund and FC St. Pauli have also recently joined the alliance. Over the next three years, "From Field to Fan Shop" will support 450 smallholder farmers in India in converting to organic cotton cultivation. The soccer clubs commit to buying the cotton to produce their merchandise. In addition, around 1,000 children and young people from the neighbouring communities of cotton cultivation are supported through sports training as part of the project. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is implementing the project on behalf of BMZ and together with local partners.

At the end of January, a delegation from the initiative travelled to the project region of Rapar, in the state of Gujarat in western India. During a visit to the cotton fields, the project participants, and the producers of the Rapar & Dhrangadhra Farmers Producer Company (RDFC) were able to get to know each other and exchange ideas. The smallholder farmers have just started to convert from conventional to organic cotton production. GIZ is supporting them with training in sustainable farming practices and access to improved seeds. In the future, the smallholder farms will produce around two tons of organic cotton per hectare.

Another highlight of the project trip was a sports and youth festival in the school of an Indian community where people live mainly from cotton cultivation. The festival was organized by the local project partner, the Indian non-governmental organization Youth Football Club Rurka Kalan (YFC), together with GIZ. The children and young people participated in the sports competitions with great dedication and enjoyment. At the same time, the festival kicked off the sports component of the initiative. "From Field to Fan Shop" promotes access to educational and sports opportunities for children and young people in ten communities in the cotton growing regions. The program boosts self-confidence through sports activities, improves school performance and raises awareness for environmental protection and resource conservation. Special attention is paid to girls and young women, who are often marginalized community members. The project trains sports coaches who not only run the programs but are also important contact persons for the children and young people.

"The initiative will benefit greatly from the experience we had here in the region at the start of the project," said Mathias Diestelmann, Managing Partner/CEO of Brands Fashion. "As a sustainable textile company, we were particularly pleased to have the opportunity to meet our producers again and to get to know the local partners. The exchange on opportunities and challenges in organic cotton cultivation was very valuable and will help to strengthen the sustainability awareness of everyone involved and will further advance the project."

The initiative's soccer clubs are already purchasing cotton from the project during the three-year conversion phase to sustainable, organic production. As a so-called "cotton-in-conversion" collection, the first fan articles with cotton from the project region are to go on sale as early as summer 2023.

About Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a global service provider of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education with 24,977 employees. GIZ has more than 50 years of experience in a wide range of fields, from economic and employment promotion to energy and environmental issues to the promotion of peace and security. Its business volume is around 3.7 billion euros. As a non-profit federal enterprise, GIZ supports the German government, in particular the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, as well as many public and private clients in around 120 countries in achieving their goals in international cooperation. To this end, GIZ works with its partners to develop effective solutions that offer people prospects and permanently improve their living conditions. For more information, visit

About Brands Fashion
Brands Fashion is Europe's market leader for sustainable corporate workwear. The textile pioneer has been developing high-quality and fashionable workwear for well-known companies in Europe and the USA since 2002. In addition, the portfolio includes a wide range of private label, merchandising and promotional articles. The focus is on the individual requirements of the customers. Brands offers a one-stop solution: from creative design and market-oriented product development to worldwide web shop solutions. The logistics division is handled by the independent subsidiary Brands Logistics GmbH. In 2019, Brands Fashion founded GoJungo GmbH with the Danish company Scan-Thor. As an innovative platform, the start-up takes over the complex and time-consuming processes for the successful sale of textile products on online marketplaces for brands. Further information at