Cotton is one of the oldest known fibers. In fact, it’s been made into fabric since 3 000 BC. But the story behind conventional cotton is not very fluffy... The use of pesticides and unfair working conditions are reasons why we should all think twice before buying conventionally produced cotton.
In 2015, 26 million metric tonnes of cotton was produced globally, much of it produced for the apparel industry. Out of those 26 million metric tonnes of cotton, less than 1 % was organic.
SO WHAT IS ORGANIC COTTON?
Organic cotton farming does not allow the use of toxic chemicals or GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and supports the health of soils, ecosystems and people by using natural processes instead of artificial inputs. It combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the environment and the quality of life for everyone involved.
It takes 2 700 liters of water to make one t-shirt from conventional cotton. That’s enough to sustain one person for 900 days. The growing of organic cotton uses 88 % less water than conventional cotton, in fact organic cotton is 80 % rain-fed which reduces pressure on local water resources. And since chemicals are not allowed, the water is cleaner and safer.
Another major benefit of growing organic cotton is that farmers and their families are not exposed to toxic chemicals in the field or through their food and water supply. And since the water and soil is healthy they’re able to grow more than one crop which in turn supplements their food and income.
However, when you buy a product labelled as organic cotton that speaks only of the cotton itself, but not the rest of the production chain which might still be conventional. That includes dyeing, printing, coatings, etc. That’s why the organic cotton garments from Mini Rodini are certified from seed to finished product by GOTS - Global Organic Textile Standard.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the strictest certification for organic materials on the market today. It involves rigid controls of chemical use and fair working conditions, to name a few, throughout the entire manufacturing process. That includes the processing, manufacturing, packaging, trading and distribution of all textiles. So if you’re looking for garments made in organic cotton - look for this certification.
Don’t forget that when you buy garments made in GOTS-certified organic cotton you’re investing in water conservation, better soil, cleaner air and farmers living standards. Therefore the price is sometimes, but not always, higher. However, with demand on the rise more choices will become available.