Stacey Dooley’s most recent exposé explored the negative impacts of conventional cotton on the planet. We’ve been receiving a lot of questions about cotton, so we wanted to take some time to remind you that not all cotton is made equal. Here are the reasons why organic cotton is not just a buzzword, but a game changer.
With the rise of fast fashion and high-street brands churning out new collections faster and cheaper than ever before, it is the people most marginalised and the planet that is paying the real cost. To make one conventional cotton t-shirt it can take up to 2,700L of water. Seas have been reduced to deserts and vital water sources have been plagued with chemicals.
Non-organic farms use thousands of synthetic fertilisers and toxic pesticides to maintain their crops - many of which graded ‘hazardous’ by the World Health Organisation. Not only do these chemicals pose risks for the farmers’ health but they are also expensive and often end up within the water sources of surrounding communities. These chemicals entering vital waterways have been associated with allergies, skin rashes, respiratory problems, cancer, birth defects, and hormonal & reproductive effects. It is estimated that over 3 million people are poisoned by pesticides from cotton every year.
How is organic cotton different?
- Organic manufacturers rely on traditional farming techniques to naturally produce their cotton, 0% toxic chemicals or pesticides. Whereas non-organic farming accounts for up to 25% of global pesticides, with 77 million non-organic cotton farmers suffering poisoning from pesticides each year.
- Organic farming locks more carbon into the soil and releases less carbon emissions.
- With strict criteria for manufacturing processes and working conditions, organic cotton production has no forced or child labour and no processes with harmful chemicals, toxic dyes, bleaches or finishes.
- 70-80% of Organic Cotton is globally rainfed. At Chetna Organic, our farmers entire cultivation relies on rainfall to water their cotton crops, avoiding irrigating vital water sources.
- Organic farms protect the lives and well-being of their farmers. Once farmers use GM conventional cotton, they are promised higher yields and lower costs. Once the land has changed to GM it is very hard to change it back to organic. Once the farmers begin to use GM, the prices hike up causing cycles of debt. There has been the highest rate of recorded farmers suicides, one farmer every 30 seconds for the last 16 years due to high levels of debt from GM (True Cost Film). Within Organic farms, the workers are able to grow other crops alongside the cotton for food security and additional income.
- We put our clothes are our largest organ on our body, our skin. Organic Cotton fabric is softer, lasts longer and all round better for our skin and most importantly, our planet.
Just like too much of anything is unhealthy, we believe organic cotton isn’t bad but rather the overuse of it is. We love creating a new narrative, working with incredible 100% farmer cooperatives that are offering a new way of making fashion great. We will only ever use materials that have been farmed in a clean and safe way.