When it comes to anything with the word organic associated with it we instantly know it's the better option but don't necessarily understand why. For cotton, often the fabric of choice for clothing we wear closest to our skin, the importance of organic is right up there with what we put into our bodies. According to Cotton Inc, 60% of women's clothing items contain cotton fibers and 40% are made entirely of cotton, while for men's clothing these statistics are even higher with 75% containing cotton fibers and 85% made from cotton alone.
The prevalence of cotton in our wardrobes makes it obvious why we should understand what we're putting on our bodies and why we should consider the benefits of organic cotton. To simplify things for you, outlined below are the main benefits to choosing organic cotton:
- No toxic chemicals are used in the growth of organic cotton, ensuring soil fertility is not damaged, river and ground water is not polluted and the natural eco system is not compromised. Although conventional cotton growth occupies only 2.5% of the world's agricultural land it uses 16% of the world's insecticides and 7% of herbicides.
- Organic cotton growth uses 71% less water due to the intense cultivation of conventional cotton which requires large amounts of water for irrigation. This causes soil salinisation and contributes to the degradation of soil fertility, a largely irreversible effect on the land.
- Due to the complete absence of toxic chemicals in the growth of organic cotton farmers health is improved. Serious illnesses and death are too common among smaller cotton farmers due to lack of adequate equipment and education around the safe handling of pesticides used in conventional cotton growth.
- Lower input costs and enhanced crop rotation provide a better and more secure livelihood for farmers. This allows farmers to provide for their families with reduced risk of crop failure and have access to a more diverse and gender inclusive market which is built on forming long term partnerships.
- Enjoy traceability and clear standards in the products you buy while also contributing to the prevention of the negative environmental and social effects of conventional cotton growth.
The benefits discussed here are specific to the growth of organic cotton. Certifications such as GOTS ensure these standards are carried through all stages of the production and processing that takes place to transform raw cotton into a textile. All information and statistics provided in this article are sourced from Organic Cotton and About Organic Cotton