Why we prefer organic cotton
Organic cotton makes sense environmentally as well as socially. Not only does it make more efficient use of water, avoids the use of harmful chemicals and keeps soil healthy, organic cotton farming methods promote better social and working conditions for farmers.
We source organic cotton whenever possible, which is less toxic at all stages along the supply chain. In 2014 we increased our use certified organic cotton, 72% of our denim collection was made from organic cotton and 54% of our cotton jersey was made from organic cotton. An increase from 2013. In 2013 51% of our denim and 25% of our jersey for ready-to-wear was made from organic cotton. Additionally, in 2014 74% of the cotton used in our kidswear collection was organic cotton.
Thank you to the NGOs developing organic cotton plantations
Organic cotton farming was developed by social entrepreneurs, farmers and NGOs who – like many of us – did not like the misuse and overuse of pesticides, or the social problems caused by production practices including farmer debt and sickness caused by chemicals. Instead, they developed a way of producing cotton using a more balanced ecosystem that did not harm the planet or those farming the crop.
Conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other single crop. Nearly $2.6 billion worth of pesticides are sprayed on cotton fields each year — accounting for more than 10% of total pesticide use and nearly 25% of insecticides use worldwide. Water use is another issue with conventional cotton production. Crops use intensive irrigation and some estimates say cotton crops are the largest water user among agricultural crops.
How organic cotton is grown and why it makes a difference:
The seeds are natural and not genetically modified so farmers are allowed to collect seeds and replant them (unlike conventional cotton farming which required them to buy new seeds each season.)
The soil is enriched with compost to give plants the best start – healthy plants attract fewer pests.
Instead of using petroleum-based herbicides and pesticides, farmers pull weeds, trap bugs, rotate crops and use companion plantings such as corn to attract beneficial bugs and lure away pests. It makes perfect sense really. The farmers work with nature rather than against it. The benefits are obvious.
Organic cotton production really makes a difference to those who grow it and the benefits are passed down the line, from healthier, happier farmers to a reduction in pesticides and unnecessary toxins going into the ground. Less chemicals means greater biodiversity. The planet is better for it.