The launch of our big cotton campaign

03 October 2012

Cutting through eco-confusion: the world’s first global organic cotton campaign launches at Hong Kong’s Sustainable Textiles Conference on October 4th. 

Major players in the international textiles industry are being challenged to sign up to organic – the most reliable and trustworthy standard of sustainable textiles production.

People wearing organic cotton jeansSpeaking at the Sustainable Textiles Conference in Hong Kong, Peter Melchett – the Soil Association’s policy director – asked textile industry leaders: “Have you cottoned on yet?”

Echoing the slogan of the campaign and website, Peter Melchett called on the industry to put a halt to the environmental damage and threats to cotton farmers’ livelihoods caused by global cotton farming and processing.

Up to 80% of world cotton production currently comes from GM crops (with 95% of the seed in India controlled by one company: Monsanto).

At the same time, worldwide demand for organic cotton is set to grow by at least 10% in 2011-2012. But some brands are failing to commit to organic standards, opting instead for easier, lower-level schemes or worse – nothing at all. Without commitment from brands, it is farmers who bear the social, environmental and economic risks associated with cotton production:

“Organic cotton is proven to deliver positive benefits for people and the environment,” says Peter Melchett. “When it comes to making sustainability claims you can trust, nothing beats it.”

Cotton workersThe campaign is launched by the Soil Association and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the leading standard for organic textile processing.

Consumers, manufacturers, brands and NGOs are urged to “cotton on” to organic by signing up on the new micro-site, uniting supporters of sustainable cotton across the globe.

The five unique benefits of organic production are:

1. Give control to farmers, not GM companies
Organic farmers don't have their choices controlled by GM companies

2. Eliminate hazardous synthetic pesticides
Organic cotton doesn’t use dangerous pesticides, protecting farmers’ lives and the environment

3. Help farmers feed their families
Organic cotton enables farmers to grow other crops for food and income

4. Save precious water
Organic cotton uses less water, preserving a scarce and precious resource for the future

5. Combat climate change
Organic cotton farming uses less energy and healthy organic soils store more CO2

Please take a moment to check out the micro-site and give your support to the campaign at

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