Certified organic cotton delivers proven benefits for people and the environment - when it comes to making sustainability claims you can trust, nothing beats it.
Globally, cotton production releases 220 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) and one tonne of non-organic cotton produces 1.8 tonnes of CO2e.
Organic cotton benefits cotton producers and the environment in developing countries by avoiding the potentially harmful effects of toxic pesticides, and the reduced cost of production improves social conditions. Social conditions for cotton growers can be difficult, with poverty, health problems and suicide common, and thousands of chemicals are used to turn raw material into clothes, towels, bedding and other items that we put next to our skin every day.
There are a number of reasons why choosing organic cotton is important for both the environment and the people who grow and pick the cotton, here's our top 6:
1. It's better for the environment
Organic fibres are grown without the use of synthetic fertilisers or toxic 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.
2. It's better for workers
By avoiding toxic pesticides cotton workers benefit by avoiding the associated health problems and deaths common in non-organic cotton production. Avoiding pesticides also reduces production costs and farmer debts – the burden of pesticide debt has resulted in thousands of suicides in the developing world.
3. It's non GM
GM is banned in organic systems, while an estimated a significant amount of all cotton grown worldwide is genetically modified. GM cotton poses a potential risk to wildlife and human health, as well as exposing farmers to unnecessary expense.
4. There's a restricted use of chemicals
GOTS ensures that the chemicals used in processing textiles meet strict requirements on toxicity and biodegradability. In contrast, non-organic manufacture uses tens of thousands of acutely toxic chemicals, many of which are classified as hazardous by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
5. Factory conditions are better
Poor working conditions and rights in the garments industry are common place. GOTS certified organic textiles must meet social criteria based on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions. These cover minimum wages, working hours, child labour, freedom of association, discrimination, harsh or inhumane treatment and more.
6. Limited residues
GOTS prohibits and restricts harmful chemicals in organic textile production and processing. Final products are restricted in the amount of allergenic, carcinogenic or toxic chemical residues. These residues can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin and may cause allergies, skin rashes or respiratory problems