What is organic cotton?
Organic cotton is a form of cotton, which is produced and certified to meet international organic agricultural standards. In the EU, the Council Directive on Organic Farming applies, around the world GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), NOP (National Organic Program) and JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard) are important standards.
Organic cotton production preserves the health of the soil, cotton workers and ecosystems by using natural methods as opposed to non-natural man-made methods. In particular, organically produced cotton does not allow toxic chemicals to be used and does not use GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Traditional farming techniques enhanced with environmentally-friendly scientific techniques are used for the benefit of the environment and all involved.
How much organically produced cotton is there annually worldwide?
According to the Textile Exchange’s 2019 Organic Cotton Market Report, in 2017/2018 globally there was a total of 180,971 tons of organically produced cotton. This principally is in only 7 countries (India, China, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Tajikistan, USA, and Tanzania). With 180,971 tonnes only representing 0.7% of total cotton production worldwide production there are many areas for improvement. This is especially the case when you consider that a decade before organic cotton was also 0.7% of total cotton production – so there has been no improvement.
- Environmentally friendly – there are many eco-friendly benefits including:
- No toxic chemicals – fertilisers, fungicides, insecticides and pesticides are not used in organic cotton production; this has a significant effect on local soil and air quality
- Reduced energy consumption – with less energy consumption, there is a lower carbon footprint, which is great for the planet! Fertilisers, in particular, require a lot of energy during their manufacture
- Reduced water consumption – with organically produced cotton being 80%+ fed by rainwater, this is a sizable water-saving to non-organic cotton. Sometimes cotton uses irrigation techniques in areas with water supply problems. Water is purer as it has fewer chemicals within it
- Fairtrade – this is cotton produced using Fairtrade Health & Safety is in place, with no discrimination, a fair living wage is provided and there is no child or forced labour
- Health – many of the chemicals used in cotton have numerous health concerns, such as including cancer-causing agents. Through cotton production, these work their way into eco-systems locally and globally, which impacts the health of animals and humans
- Safety for workers – cotton workers are not exposed to toxic chemicals in the fields or through the water table, which eventually impacts food supplies
Buying organically produced cotton products through Bazar
It’s easy to buy cotton farmed organically through Bazar. We have a range of providers, here are just a few examples:
- Amaella – bras, underwear and nightwear
- Cariki – t-shirts
- Fou Furnishings – bedding products
- Morcant – hoodies, sweaters and t-shirts
Benefits of organic clothes
We have summarised many benefits above. It is also worth mentioning that for organic cotton clothing products extremely high ethical standards of production apply, these include standards such as Fairtrade, FLO International and the Better Cotton Initiative.
Organic clothes will not have the usual chemical retentions of non-organic clothing. This reduces allergies and chemical sensitivities to the skin, particularly for people prone to allergy problems.
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