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LESSON 1 - COTTON & CHEMICALS:
The impact of organic cotton
The story behind conventional cotton is not as fluffy and soft as it may feel. The use of water, pesticides, and land are three reasons for why you may want to give this fibre a second thought. At Mini Rodini, all cotton is 100 % organic. This means no GMO seeds, a healthy soil and in the end – a soft fabric that is kind to both nature and your skin.
Cotton is a highly versatile, breathable and durable fibre. It is very comfortable to wear because it absorbs and releases moisture relatively quickly. It accepts many dyes and can be treated in many ways – it can be made fuzzy inside a sweatshirt and textured in a flowy summer dress. For this reason, it is one of the worlds’ leading agricultural crops and the second most common fibre used in the world
(22 % compared to 64 % for polyester).
The cotton industry is unfortunately not so very hunky dory. Around 20 million tons of cotton is produced every year, and between 8,000-22,550 litres of water is required for one kg of cotton. The 8,000 litres if it is produced in the highly industrial USA, and the 22,500 litres if it is produced in India where irrigation systems are badly run, and poor management of pesticides is rampant. Cotton farming uses more pesticides than any other area of agricultural production. This has an effect on the planet, ruining waterways, soil and air quality, and affecting the surrounding ecosystem. It also has a great impact on the people who manage the pesticides, with between 1- and 3 % of cotton growers suffering from acute pesticide poisoning, with at least 1 million people requiring hospitalisation each year.
This is why we have chosen to only use organic cotton in all of our products. Organic cotton uses no genetically modified seeds, bans all use of pesticides, uses 71 % less water and 62 % less energy.
This has a massive effect on both people and planet, and for us – it’s a no brainer.
The 2017 Textile Exchange Market Report included us in the 100% club for organic cotton (as well as recycled polyester and man-made cellulosic fibres) meaning, we are globally, amongst a small group of brands that only use organic cotton in their products, together with brands such as Patagonia and KnowledgeCotton Apparel. This isn’t very common, as only 0,57 % of all the cotton grown globally in 2016 was organic.
This being said, organic cotton isn’t in itself the solution to the whole problem. Even organic cotton is very resource heavy, and this is why we are constantly looking for new sustainable fibres to introduce to our range, such as Modal® and Tencel®.
It’s not enough for our suppliers to say something is organic or recycled, we also need proof to ensure our products are really sustainable. There are loads of certifications out there, and we have chosen to only go by the most comprehensive ones on the market.
Chemicals are a blessing and a curse. They are the building blocks of life such as water, which without there would be no life. But they also hold the power to destroy life, such as when excessive use of lead produces adverse effects to people and planet.
At Mini Rodini we work very hard with chemical management to ensure our products are the safest on the market. Also to ensure that the workers who produce our products not are exposed to harm and to ensure our natural environment is protected from toxins.
Chemical safety is one of Mini Rodini’s highest priorities. As we work with children’s clothes, it is paramount that our products are safe and free from toxins. It is also of great importance as harmful chemicals can have an extremely damaging effect on our planet. Some chemicals never degrade in nature so once made, they will never go away. Other chemicals cause devastating effects on our natural environment and animal kingdom, which is unacceptable. Lastly, chemicals can be very harmful for those who are handling them. We are very committed to the welfare of all of the people who work in our supply chain, and hence ban all chemicals that can jeopardise their wellbeing.
As stated above, chemicals are tricky little things. While some are harmless, others are toxic, and some only harmful if they reach a certain limit value. Chemicals can also be very elusive. Meaning that even if a factory does not use a certain chemical in our products, they might still use it in other products for other customers. The chemical may then unintentionally find its way into our products, unless the factory follows a very good chemical management procedure.
At Mini Rodini we have adopted a number of measures to minimise the risk of any harmful chemicals entering our products. We have created an extremely robust Restricted Substances List (RSL), which is updated twice a year and signed after each update by all of our suppliers. In our social audit controls, we check that our factories are maintaining a good chemical management procedure. As an extra safety measure, we conduct random chemical tests for each season, to ensure our RSL is upheld.