The great cotton debate

The cotton debate has been around since the early 90’s when organic cotton farming started to become more mainstream.

We all know the basics- that cotton is a natural fibre and natural fibres like cotton, hemp and linen are better for us and the environment. But there is more to know behind our go to fabric of choice.

Cotton Farming

About 20 million tons of cotton are produced each year in around 90 countries. China, United States, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and West Africa account for over 75% of global production. To put all that in our closet perspective, it takes 20,000 LITERS of water to produce one kilogram of cotton and that is the equivalent of a single t-shirt and pair of jeans. Most of how cotton is made is done conventionally and cotton production methods are environmentally unsustainable—ultimately undermining the industry’s ability to maintain future production.

Other than environmental reasons, cotton has been linked to forced labour and child labour in countries like Uzbekistan.

Related Article: Cotton Slavery in Uzbekistan 

By contrast, sustainable organic cotton farming has proven benefits for people and the environment. But only 1.4% of the global cotton market is considered to be farmed organically. There are many reasons why this is such and most of it comes down to the difficulties of small scale cotton to get into a sustainable program and be compensated enough for it.

The C&A Foundation, a corporate foundation that aims to grow the sustainable cotton market has a program that addresses obstacles to organic cotton production and helps link producers to the market. This is a positive and progressive step in bringing organic cotton farming globally.

The great cotton debate: Is organic as good as we think it is?

Why Buy Organic?

Buying organic cotton is an incredible opportunity to show retailers that there is a demand from consumers and that we have the power to change the environment and farmers’ lives just by buying organic.

If it’s grown and sold the right way, organic cotton improves farmers’ health and their business, enabling farming communities to thrive. And organic cotton farming eliminates dangerous chemicals, improving the health of soils and increasing water conservation.

Benefits for Farmers

Enhanced health Improved economic situation Improved access to markets

Benefits for retailers

Credibility and image Contribution to social and eco sustainability Be a change agent

Benefits for consumers

Buying a healthy product Doing good for the environment Have a positive impact in farmers’ livelihood

Buy fair trade and organic. Image from: The little green radicals

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