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What is Organic Cotton?


Do you know what 'organic' cotton means?

Organic cotton is cotton that is produced and certified to organic agricultural standards. Its production sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people by using natural processes rather than artificial inputs. Importantly organic cotton farming does not allow the use of toxic chemicals or GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Instead, it combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote a good quality of life for all involved.

Did you know?

At present, only approximately 0.51% of global cotton production is organic.

How sustainable is organic cotton?

Cotton is relatively drought tolerant however it still requires a lot of water. Furthermore, cotton is highly vulnerable to pest attack in certain geographies and climates. In conventional systems it is therefore treated with large quantities of chemical pesticides and irrigation water. A Life Cycle Assessment showed that by producing cotton organically, negative impacts on the environment are drastically reduced.

Results of a recent Life Cycle Assessment of organic cotton reveal that water consumption of organic cotton is 91% lower than that of conventional cotton (182m3/1000kg fiber as opposed to 2,120m3 ) . This is because organic cotton receives relatively little irrigation, relying predominantly on natural rainfall. Organic cotton can also be a more efficient user of water since farmers focus on building higher levels of organic matter in their soils. Research shows that soils with high organic content can hold up to 30% more water.


What is Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)?

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