Advantages of organic cotton compared to traditional cotton
Growing traditional cotton is one of the most polluting farming activities in the world (traditional cotton uses about 24% of worldwide pesticides whereas it only represents 2.4% of cultivated soils). Whereas cultivated soils have not grown, yields have grown remarkably: since the 30’s cultivated surfaces dedicated to cotton have not changed whereas yields of these soils have been multiplied by 30.
Organic farming is free from chemical products and uses only natural pesticides and natural fertilizers. Its contributes to preserving the environment and it also contributes to protecting humans’ health.
Indeed, traditional cotton cultivation is extremely noxious for health. According to the WHO, there would be 220.000 deaths and 25 million cases of poisoning linked with the cultivation of cotton each year in Southern countries. Organic cotton only uses natural methods and grants producers to work in favorable conditions.
These small producers also benefit from the cultivation of organic cotton from a financial point of view. When cultivating traditional cotton, it sometimes happen that producers become dependent from pharmaceutical companies, who produce pesticides. It created financial dependencies, which can become very hard to live for these small producers. Organic cotton allows small producers to free themselves from that kind of dependencies by using natural pesticides and fertilizers.
Traditional cotton also has an impact on the environment. The wildlife, which is not supposed to be the target of these pesticides, is often hit by the chemical products used. Contrary to that, some parasites targeted develop strong protection mechanisms and become more resistant to pesticides.
Traditional cotton is also strongly water consuming. A WWF study from 1999 showed that 7.000 to 29.000 liters of wated are needed to produce one kilo of cotton. Organic cotton is far less water consuming, remarkably because it is cultivated by small producers with artisanal irrigation methods.
Organic certifications for cotton
There are several certification, which grant the origin of organic cotton:
• EKO label from Skal (main certification organization for ethic fashion in France)
• Oeko-Tex standards (grants consumers products, which are irreproachable for health)
• Naturtextil label from IVN (international association for natural textile products)
Among certification organization, which deal with organic cotton, there is alos: