To be honest, these days I don’t often hear the question “why organic cotton?". When I am at markets chatting face to face with my customers, it is wonderful to see that everyone from young mums, through to hip uncles and doting Nanna's, are already so well versed in the benefits of Organic cotton. They touch the clothes and straight away they are the ones to say to me – “this is organic cotton isn’t it”. They can feel the softness of the fabric, but they are also already aware, that organic cotton makes a huge difference - not just for our children who are wearing the cotton close to their skin but for the farmers and their families who are growing the cotton and for the ground and the rivers where the crops are planted, raised and harvested.
If you are new to organic cotton, or just interested in the ins and outs of the cotton industry, here are a few insights which explain why organic cotton is gaining popularity.
- Conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other crop in the world. It is estimated that each year cotton producers use as much as 25% of the worlds insecticides and more than 10% of the worlds pesticides.
- These chemicals can be deadly. Such pesticides poison farmers all over the world. Factory workers too have to breathe in their fumes during the manufacturing process. According to the World Health Organization up to 20,000 deaths each year are caused by pesticide poisoning in developing countries
- These chemicals not only remain on the cotton once it is milled and turned into clothes, they also remain on the skin of farmers and in the earth, waterways and ecosystems where they are sprayed.
Here at Gather & Moss we use only GOTS certified organic cotton. GOTS is the worlds leading standard for organic cotton production. It stipulates high levels of environmental criteria and also social criteria along the entire supply chain from cotton production through to fabric milling. Farmers, traders, retailers and consumers all benefit from the economic, social and ecological advantages of organic cotton projects.
- Benefits for farmers - Organic cotton is farmed using traditional and sustainable agriculture methods. It utilises traditional farming knowledge that has existed for thousands of years. It minimises the need for costly chemical inputs. It prevents famers and their families from being exposed to toxic chemicals.
- Benefits for ecosystems – . Organic cotton uses less carbon due to smaller fuel and energy requirements, uses less water than conventional cotton production and the lack of chemicals prevents contamination of soil and water which cause irreparable damage to ecosystems
- Benefits for manufacturers – the process of milling cotton to make fabric is also governed by Organic certification processes. Buying organic cotton does not only mean the growing of crops without the use of chemicals. It also means the milling of the cotton, and the process of turning crop to fabric, is done without the use of toxic dyes or fabric treatments including formaldehyde, heavy metals & aromatic solvents. Organic certification also brings with it social, fair wage, and fair trade criteria which must be met by cotton manufacturers. In short, when you choose GOTS organic cotton, you know it has been farmed and milled without chemicals and that the people who have turned this global crop into fabric have done so under just and fair working conditions and with fair wages.
- Benefits for consumers - Because the growing of organic cotton is chemical free, clothing is softer, far less allergenic, and strongly reduces respiratory problems particularly in babies and children.
Currently, less than one percent of all cotton grown is organic, but awareness and demand are slowly growing. People are coming to understand the many benefits of organic. They are beginning to appreciate that the purchasing choices they make, have the power to slowly change a system from being one of the most environmentally detrimental industries in the world to one which provides just, sustainable and ethical solutions from the farm up to your wardrobe.