Organic (or organic) cotton differs from the classic cotton that we find on the market, because it is a type of cotton grown following the rules of organic farming.
In organic farming, chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, etc.) are not used, but they are used massively for the intensive cultivation of traditional cotton and extremely harmful to the environment and to farmers.
The substances that are used in traditional cotton production also have a negative impact in post production.
These substances remain in the fabric and become dangerous both for our skin from the moment we wear a garment, and for the environment as they are released into the water during washing.
Organic cotton, on the other hand, is treated in a natural way both in the cultivation and harvesting phases, and this, in addition to giving us a higher fiber quality, guarantees us that it is not dangerous for our health and for the environment.
But the benefit of organic cotton doesn’t stop with the environment.
In fact, it has a positive impact on the social too, because by following the principles of “natural” cultivation, two key principles of the world of work are also respected: health and equity.
There are international organizations that verify and control compliance with the rules in the production phase on the environmental part.
The organic cotton we use, for example, is G.O.T.S and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, the most important and complete certifications at an international level as they check that the fiber is truly organic, and also the social aspect of production.
Bodies such as the FAIR WEAR Foundation, on the other hand, deal with another fundamental aspect: respect for workers throughout the production chain.
The major producers of cotton are Africa, Asia and America, and as we well know in those territories there are often disastrous and out of control environmental and ethical situations.
Being aware that the garment you wear comes from controlled supply chains is what can really make the difference.
If you read “Organic Cotton” on a label, do not accept it a priori as a sustainable fabric.
Look closely at the label, or ask brands to provide you with information on fabric certifications.
In the era of “Green Washing” there is a lot of talk about sustainability and the boundary between a true sustainable approach and a marketing that aims at profit is very thin, and we must always keep ten eyes open.
Why choose organic cotton?
Here are several advantages:
- No chemicals are used
- It is healthier for our skin
- Comes from non-genetically modified seeds (no GMOs)
- It is not harmful to the health of farmers
- Reduces water consumption during cultivation by 91%
- 46% reduction of harmful gas emissions into the environment
- The land is respected (the cultivation of organic cotton is foreseen in the agricultural rotation regime)
- It has a higher quality than standard cotton
- To the touch it is pleasant and soft
- It is biodegradable (printed fabrics obviously have a slower biodegradation time)
At the moment, organic cotton has a higher cost than traditional cotton for both brands and the end customer due to the more complex production and certifications.
With an increased demand for eco-friendly fabrics from the market, prices will also decrease.
Obviously it would be necessary that the production of organic cotton was also kept within the limits of sustainability, both from an environmental point of view (intensive and excessively extensive cultivation would be counterproductive), and socially (adequate wages for workers).
However, we believe that a “culture of buying less but better” must spread, countering the “fast fashion” that has made clothing the second most polluting industry on the planet.
Here are summarized the disadvantages of buying organic cotton garments
- Higher cost
- Requires more fabric care
- Intensive and large-scale organic cotton production would risk being unsustainable in any case.