Organic Cotton

Organic cotton sustains the health of soils, ecosystems, and people

Sustainability is dependent on local dynamics, and organic cotton is no exception. As a result, our goal is to connect our supply chains down to the farm to ensure we understand conditions on the ground and have the ability to work as partners on the solutions. Thus far, we have succeeded in doing so for our organic supima blend t-shirt program and seek to do the same for our organic cotton woven materials.

Each year, conventionally-grown cotton producers use nearly $2.6 billion worth of pesticides - more than 10% of the world’s pesticides and nearly 25% of the world’s insecticides. Cotton growers typically use many of the most hazardous pesticides on the market including aldicarb, phorate, methamidophos, and endosulfan. Cotton pesticides are often broad-spectrum - organophosphates — pesticides originally developed as toxic nerve agents during World War II — and carbamate pesticides 1.

Organic cotton avoids the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers; and on average uses 91% less water and 62% less energy than its conventional counterpart 2. GOTS is our target standard and all but one of our sources is accredited to this level.

Why We Choose Organic Cotton

  • Organic cotton sustains the health of soils, ecosystems, and people. Its cultivation relies on ecological processes and cycles, rather than artificial inputs which can have unintended adverse effects. 3

  • Organic cotton uses only untreated seeds and prohibits the use of GMO seeds. 4

  • Organic farming builds soil matter through crop rotation and the practice of intercropping, in which farmers grow two or more crops in close proximity. Crop diversity is also beneficial to farmers, as it provides multiple sources of income and exposes them to less risk of a poor harvest or fluctuations in commodity prices. 5

  • Insect populations globally are in decline. While conventional cotton farming uses highly toxic insecticides to control pests, organic farming methods use beneficial insects and biological practices to control them. 6

  • By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages. Organic cotton is 80% rain-fed, which reduces pressure on local water sources. 7

Fig : 1

Lovington, NM. Organic cotton defoliates naturally leading to variability in harvest timing.

Fig : 2

West Gin. Brownfield, TX. Cotton after processing.

Footnotes

1. http://www.panna.org/resource-library
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