What are the benefits of organic cotton? How does this differ to conventional cotton?
Organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, reduce the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilisers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party certification organisations verify that organic producers use only allowed methods and materials. Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilisers. In addition, regulations prohibit the use of genetically engineered seed for organic farming meaning that all cotton sold as organic in Europe must meet strict regulations covering how the cotton is grown.
How do I know if it’s organic?
Unlike food, textile products don’t have to be certified to be describes as organic. A product claiming to be organic might only contain a small percentage of organic cotton or may be made of organic cotton but dyed using toxic chemicals which would never be allowed in certified organic products. The use of any organic cotton is a great first step, but to be sure a product is really organic from field to finished product, look out for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) symbol as well as the OEKO-Tex symbol. Certified and organic products could be the clothing solution for your clients.
How do they differ?
|Whitening||Safe peroxide is used||Chlorine bleaching creates toxic by-products, which are released into the environment|
|Dyeing||Low-impact fibre-reactive or natural dyes||High temperature, heavy metals and sulphur|
|Fair Trade||Social Criteria, including living wages||Possible child or forced labour. Facilities may be unsafe|
|Marketing||Positive story to differentiate you from your competitors||Potential for negative image|
|Price||Initial cost more expensive. Long-term advantages: priceless||Initially cheaper. Impact on the environment: devastating|
May 16, 2017
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