What does organic cotton mean?
Organic cotton can either refers to the cotton plant that has been grown in an organic way, or to the cotton fabric that has been produced without the use of harmful chemicals.
Cotton garments labelled as “organic” must be made from organically grown cotton plants.
The organic cotton plant is grown using non-GMO seeds and uses no harmful pesticides, insecticides, or fertilizer which is much more gentle for other organisms in the soil and effluent waters.
As consequence, organic cotton farmers are not exposed to toxic chemicals that can cause severe health problems.
Organic cotton farmers, unlike conventional cotton farmers, use more eco-friendly farming methods such as crop rotation, mixed farming, or no-till farming to preserve the soil.
Furthermore, before the organic fibre is turned into your favourite t-shirt, it must undergo a lot of processing and dyeing, which can be very chemically intensive. Therefore it is also important for the environment, the workers’ health and consumer safety that the textile production is made in an “organic” way, which in this case means without harmful chemicals.
What is the difference between organic cotton and conventional cotton?
Organic cotton fabric has the same quality as traditional cotton but with much less negative environmental impact than conventional cotton brings with its production process. Unfortunately, only 1,4% of global cotton production is organic.
Nevertheless, organic cotton production is not without flaws.
Organic cotton demands more plants and land to produce because it yields fewer fibres than GMO cotton.
Organic Cotton belongs to SANE Approved Material List. SANE recognizes the certifications GOTS and OCS. For organic cotton not previously certified GOTS or OCS, the material production will need to be certified SANE by a SANE-accredited certifier.
A product made of at least 90% organic cotton (or blended with other SANE Approved Material) and produced in a facility holding a SANE Scope Certificate is eligible to be certified SANE.
Copy partner: Sustain Your Style – Picture: Marianne Krohn
Other sources: Textile Exchange PFMR 2022