Here at KOOSHOO, organic cotton is an essential material in all of our headbands, hair ties and scrunchies. So it feels only right to us to mark World Cotton Day on October 7th.
The day is meant to shine some light on the importance of cotton as a global commodity. Cotton in its purest form is great, but it can be devastating to the environment, that’s why we want to acknowledge organic cotton in particular, on World Cotton Day.
Cotton is a natural, renewable and biodegradable fabric that we’re all likely familiar with and touch or use on a daily basis. But you may not be as aware of its global impact.
Did you know?
Global cotton production is equal to 25 million tonnes.
Cotton is produced by 26 million growers in 75 countries, across 5 continents.
Cotton occupies 2.1% of the world’s arable land, and yet meets 27% of the world’s textile demand.
A single tonne of cotton can provide year-round employment for 5 people on average, often in some of the world’s most impoverished regions
Cotton is more than just fibre; food products, such as edible oil and animal feed, can be derived from the seed.
Conventional vs. Organic Cotton
However, conventional cotton production accounts for 25% of the world’s insecticides (considered the most harmful to human and animal life) and 10% of all agricultural chemicals. It has been estimated that up to a third of a pound of chemicals are required to grow enough cotton for a t-shirt. The World Health Organization estimates that 20,000 people die every year from pesticide poisoning in developing countries, many of whom work in cotton farming. In short, it’s a crop that is extremely hard on our earth and the people and communities that grow it.
Organic cotton, by contrast, is grown without insecticides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers, meaning it’s health comes down to a balance of crop rotation, compost, and cover crop strategies. When you consider that much of the developing world's cotton suppliers still pick cotton by hand – and the developing world produces the vast majority of cotton – then you can understand the implications of removing chemicals from the equation.
But, so far, organic cotton accounts for just 1% of global cotton production, according to the Organic Trade Association.
Cotton at Kooshoo
At KOOSHOO, we’re committed to using organic cotton that is certified through the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). It’s something we know our customers want and, for us, it’s an important part of producing sustainable and ethical products. Having that GOTS certification means that our cotton is organic from the harvesting of the raw materials through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing all the way to labelling. But that’s not all! Not only is our cotton GOTS certified, it’s also Fairtrade certified meaning they meet a set of social, economic and environmental standards that also include in no child labor and no forced labor.
At KOOSHOO, we believe a consciously operated business must be accountable to all stakeholders in a supply chain, not just the end customer. While we’ll always strive to make the best possible products for end use, we’ll readily admit that doing good by the people making our products is of equal importance.
That’s also why we partner with other like-minded businesses. Our organic cotton products are manufactured at a cut & sew facility in India, owned and operated by nuns. The facility is considered a pioneer in India for exporting organic cotton. In fact, India has since become famous for its organic cotton industry, now exporting more than 50% of the world’s organic cotton.
And for you, our wonderful customers, choosing products made out of organic cotton is a way to show the industry that organic products are in demand. We’ve heard from you and know consumers increasingly care about wearing cotton that hasn’t been exposed to synthetic pesticides and chemicals. You can feel the difference, not just when you touch the fabric, but when you make a choice that helps other people earn their living in a safer, fairer way.
This is a topic we are very passionate about and encourage you to learn more about the subject if inclined. Treehugger, the Organic Trade Association and Gaiam all present excellent articles about organic cotton.
Happy World Cotton Day!