Why is organic cotton is the best for people and planet?
Organic farming works in harmony with nature. Farmers make the most of natural systems and cycles to grow their crops and it all starts with the soil!
By looking after the world beneath our feet, farmers are able to grow healthy and resilient crops. Using techniques like crop rotation, green manures and composting, healthy soils lead to healthy harvests.
And because toxic hazardous pesticides and artificial fertilisers are banned, biodiversity is boosted and natural forms of pest control are used instead.
This approach is in contrast to non-organic textile cotton production, which relies on synthetic chemical inputs like nitrogen fertilisers and artificial pesticides. These contribute to climate change and can cause damage to local ecosystems and the health of local people.
The lies that are happening in the industry
The largest single producer of the world’s organic yarns cotton supply is India, which accounts for half of the organic yarns cotton sold globally, and where the cotton organic movement appears to be booming
Farmers display the cotton they have harvested to buyers at the Khargone mandi, a large auction market, in Khargone, India, Oct. 23, 2021.
The cotton organic GOTS movement in India appears to be booming, but much of this growth is fake, say those who source, process and grow the cotton. (Saumya Khandelwal/The New York Times)
“This product contains independently certified GOTS cotton grown without chemical pesticides, chemical fertilizers and genetically modified seeds,” the product description reads.
With the fashion industry trumpeting its sustainability commitments, those labels are both a means of value signaling and a lure to consumers willing to pay more to act better.
There’s only one problem: Much of the “organic cotton” that makes it to store shelves may not actually be organic at all.
The largest single producer of the world’s organic textile cotton supply is India, which accounts for half of the organic cotton sold globally, and where the organic cotton movement appears to be booming.
According to Textile Exchange, a leading organic proponent, organic cotton production in India alone grew 48% in the last year, despite the pandemic.
However, much of this growth is fake, say Indians who source, process and grow organic (GOTS) cotton.
At the heart of the problem is an opaque certification system rife with opportunities for fraud.
Consumers are assured of “organic” material by brands, which rely on official stamps of approval from external organizations. Those in turn rely on reports from opaque local inspection agencies that base their conclusions on a single planned yearly inspection (in the case of the facilities) or a few random visits (for farms).
In recent months, the credibility of these inspection agencies has been destroyed. In November, the European Union voted to no longer accept Indian organic exports certified by the main companies responsible for organic
“The cotton ‘organic’ that’s sold each year far exceeds the amount that is actually grown,” it says.
This problem is not confined to India, experts say; questions have been raised about organic cotton from China and Turkey, which account for another quarter of the global supply. And the organization that audits and certifies the certifiers, IOAS, withdrew OneCert’s ability to inspect and approve cotton-processing facilities globally in January.
Organic manufacturing – from farm to factory:
Organic isn’t just about how cotton is grown, what happens in the factory is important too! Organics cotton carrying the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS the European certificate to be inspected, ) logo has not only been grown organically, it’s also been manufactured in a socially and environmentally responsible way too.
PTIMG first started using exclusively 100% organic cotton in 1997. Later, we also began using recycled cotton, Cotton in Conversion and Regenerative Organic Certified™ (ROC) Pilot Cotton.
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