Why Use Organic Cotton?

The world produces over 25 million tonnes of cotton every year. That’s enough for 23 billion pairs of jeans every single year! This white, fluffy plant looks like a much more environmentally friendly material for our clothes than synthetic fibres. 

But conventional cotton production can be very damaging for the environment, as well as for the farmers who grow it and their communities.

By making the choice to buy organic cotton, you can be part of the movement to combat climate change and support workers’ rights. It’s one thing you can do today that will directly help both people and planet.

 

What is organic cotton?

Organic cotton is grown using natural and sustainable farming systems, such as crop rotation and natural pest control. This means that neither artificial fertilisers nor harmful pesticides are used. 

Also, genetically modified seeds are not used to grow organic cotton, because natural farming methods are more effective than GM for growing more resilient crops. This means that farmers are not reliant on companies for genetically modified seeds, but instead keep and sow their own seeds each year. 

Why is organic cotton better for the climate?

Choosing organic cotton makes a big difference to the environment. It produces 46% less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional cotton! And because artificial fertilisers are banned from use in growing organic cotton crops, this encourages biodiversity and creates healthier soil, which is able to store carbon.  

Conventional cotton is a very thirsty crop and uses 3% of all water consumed globally. To grow it, water is drawn from local aquifers and waterways which are also much-needed by local communities.  But because organic cotton uses natural methods, the soil is more able to retain and release water. 

Why is organic cotton better for the farmers and communities who grow it?  

At the moment, 14% of the world’s insecticides are used on cotton crops. This can have hugely damaging consequences for communities where cotton is grown. Insecticide poisoning can cause cancer, neurological diseases and infertility, and is associated with large numbers of fatalities each year.

Organic cotton farming bans the use of insect-based pesticides, and instead uses natural methods of pest control. This is much better for the health of people in communities where cotton is grown.

Also, organic cotton farmers rotate cotton with other crops in order to keep the soil healthy. This way, they can grow more food and other produce that they can use to sell and feed their families. So organic cotton farmers tend to have more stable incomes and a more secure supply of food. 

Why does Lilly and Sid use the GOTS certification for its organic cotton? 

At Lilly and Sid we’re committed to the highest environmental and social welfare standards. So we only use organic cotton certified by the GOTS, which stands for the Global Organic Textiles Standard. This certification means the garment contains at least 70% organic cotton. 

But not only that, everything used in our supply chains, all the way to the final product, uses low impact dyes and inks. To meet the GOTS, waste water used by cotton products has to be treated to ensure that it is safe to be released into the environment. GOTS certification also means that strict social welfare standards have been met, such as paying workers fairly. 

  


Three reasons to buy organic-certified cotton:

 

1) Organic cotton is better for the environment: 

Organic cotton produces 46% greenhouse gas emissions than conventional cotton and uses 62% less energy. It helps to fight the effects of climate change by creating healthier soil that can store carbon. Growing organic cotton uses a massive 91% less water than conventional crops, and this of course means more clean water is available to local people who need it. 

 

 

 

2) Better welfare standards for cotton farmers:

Organic-certified cotton is produced by workers whose rights are being supported, including through fair pay.  And because the farming of organic cotton involves natural methods which boost soil health and better food security, farmers can grow more crops for their families.

 

3) No harmful insecticides or artificial fertilisers:

Conventional cotton farming uses insecticides and artificial fertilisers which can leak into rivers and other crops, and damage biodiversity. Organic cotton uses natural to boost soil fertility, such as crop rotation and natural pest control. This means the cotton farmers and their communities don’t need to use chemicals and are protected from their harmful effects.