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Thursday, 9 September 2010

Organic Fortnight - Why buy Organic Cotton?

What is Organic Cotton?

Organic cotton is cultivated without the use of pesticides and fertilisers. Organic farming aims to maintain a balance with nature by using low impact techniques.

There are far reaching environmental benefits, the soil is more fertile and the absence of chemicals promotes biodiversity. Organic farming relies on a maintaining a good soil structure. One key benefit is that the soil holds water more efficiently, so although cotton is a thirsty crop less water is wasted.

What are the benefits for the farmers?
Organic cotton allows farmers to earn a better income through the premium associated with organic cotton. Crop rotation helps the farmers to diversify their crops, so that they don’t have to depend solely on their cotton yield.

Their production costs are reduced, as they are no longer dependent on costly pesticides. This is vital as it allows farmers and their families more financially stability.

A major benefit to farmers and their families is improved health, allowing them to work and live in a safer environment.

For a farm to become certified as organic can take 2-3years. A product sold as organic must comply with strict regulations and standards which are upheld by the certifying body.

The Soil Association has a certification body so look out for their logo. To learn more please visit their website.

There are other organic certifications you can look out for such as SKAL and GOTS.

Fairtrade Cotton
Fairtrade addresses the social standards of the workers in the chain of production. The main principles are based around buyers paying a sustainable price for products which is filtered all the way down the supply chain. This allows the producers to earn a living wage whilst working in decent conditions. One does wonder how much the traditional cotton farmer earns if the consumer is paying £2.50 for a cotton t-shirt!

Fairtrade and organic compliment each other perfectly, the combination of an environmental stance and belief in humanitarian principles makes for a sustainable and ethical product.

Currently only a small fraction (0.15%) of the worlds cotton production is organic. As consumers we have the choice and power to support the Organic Cotton industry for a more sustainable future.... BUY ORGANIC!

To view a selection of organic cotton products available at Equa click here>>

Sources: Soil Association, Pesticide Action Network UK, Organic Exchange, Sustainable Fashion & Textiles by Kate Fetcher

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