Why Choose Organic Cotton
Protect Our Planet and People By Choosing Organic Clothes
We know a lot about organic food and household products, but how much do we really understand about the fashion industry, and what it really means to buy organic cotton? The organic cotton industry makes a positive impact on health, people, and the planet. It is easy to be seduced by cheap clothes and fast fashion, but who or what pays the price?
How Do I Know the Cotton in my Clothes is Organic and Safe?
Sometimes it can seem a little overwhelming when there is a lot on information on a topic you are trying to get to grips with. Lots of new terminology and jargon you may be unfamiliar with. Organisations you may not even have been aware of in the past. The best way, is to get to grips with what each organisation stands for and what it really means to you, the customer.
Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS)
At Babipur, GOTS is a standard we look for (as is the Soil Association) as it covers every step in the supply chain. It considers everyone involved, from farmers to the person cutting the fabric, cleaning the factory, or driving the vehicles. When textiles carry the GOTS label it means safe working conditions, no discrimination, and no child labour.
GOTS is the world’s leading textile processing standard for organic fibres. In order to pass GOTS, it is required that 95% of the fabric is organic and that no toxic dyes or finishes have been used in the process. You can rest assured with GOTS that the process meets strict environmental and social criteria, and has been certified by an independent third party along the entire supply chain.
Proceed with caution when considering organic textiles, as it’s not clear cut. The term “organic” can be used much more loosely than in the food industry. The product could be labelled as organic but may only contain a small percentage, and toxic dyes may have been used.
The Soil Association
The Soil Association is an independent organisation that conducts rigorous testing before a certificate is awarded. They review the entire manufacturing process, including sourcing of ingredients, premises, and packaging.
Sustainability and environmental safety are ensured by reviewing aspects such as water usage and waste management. The marketing strategy is also analysed to ensure it is completely transparent, something we firmly believe in here at Babipur.
Fairtrade is about ensuring the people who grow the things we love get a fair deal. This is done through fair pricing and working conditions in developing countries. The Fairtrade Foundation works with farmers to empower them to be involved and have their say.
The Fairtrade label is always a positive thing, but does not alone cover the entire supply chain. Therefore, we at Babipur support the Fairtrade standard in conjunction with GOTS and the Soil Association, to ensure the clothing you love has not negatively impacted people, the planet, nor public health.
Firstly, it is important to understand that an Oeko-Tex certification is not an organic certification. Oeko-Tex tests raw, semi-finished, and finished textile products and the certification can be found on both organic and non-organic materials. The Oeko-tex standard has an important role in ensuring product safety from the consumers perspective. It is an independent testing and certification of textile products and processes. Oeko-Tex are responsible for testing against harmful chemicals that may be used in the manufacturing of clothing. Each item will be assessed according to the purpose of use. For instance, a different level of testing will be preformed on an item intended for a child under 3 years to that that will be used in upholstery.
As with Fairtrade certification, it is important to understand that these are widely respected and important processes, but they do not alone guarantee that the product will be organic. This is why it is important we as consumers have an understanding of what role each organisation plays in the process of producing organic clothing.
Organic Cotton is…
Better for Health
A major benefit of organic cotton production is that crops are not treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, nor genetically modified organisms (GMO). These toxins are recognised to be extremely harmful to farmers, factory workers, consumers, and wildlife ecosystems.
Cotton production is estimated to use 25% of the world’s insecticides and more than 10% of the world’s pesticides. In developing countries, 20,000 deaths each year are a direct result of pesticide poisoning (World Health Organisation), which also has a negative impact on up to 3 million people through chronic ill health, cancer, infertility, miscarriage, and birth defects.
It may also have a negative impact on consumer health. According to the soil association, chemical residues present cotton products can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin and may cause allergies, skin rashes or respiratory problems. GOTS ensures that textiles meet strict requirements when it comes to toxicity.
Better For People
The cotton farming industry is not a profitable one. Farmers earn a very poor wage, receive no support, and spend a huge amount of their budget on pesticides. Their local ecosystem and soil quality is poor, and often there is not enough food for the local farming community.
Organic cotton farming is not subject to the same oppressive contracts that GMO farming is subject to. There is far greater freedom regarding the production of their crops. Organic farming promotes the industry to work in harmony with nature and local ecosystems in a sustainable way. Organic farming encourages a diverse assortment of crops in order to maintain healthy soil, provide food for the community, and also extra sources of income. There is an emphasis on protecting the workforce and empowering smaller businesses to be self-sufficient.
Better For The Planet
There is significantly less water and energy consumed in the production of organic cotton. A large amount of organic cotton is produced using rain water, which preserves water resources. It is also hugely beneficial to the ecosystem, as it is not polluted with chemicals found in conventional cotton farming.
Organic agriculture combines healthy soil, biodiversity, preservation of natural ecosystems, wildlife protection, and support for the farming community.
You can rest assured that any clothing sold by Babipur has undergone rigorous consideration and investigation prior to being passed on to the customer as organic clothing. There will have been a great amount of thought put into the production, sustainability, and quality of each brand. Maxomorra, Duns Sweden, Little Green Radicals, Piccalilli, JNY and Frugi are all registered with the GOTS label.
We need to be smarter, more conscious consumers, and care about our health, the planet, and its people. Never underestimate the power of an individual’s choice, and what a difference it can make.
Here at Babipur we have always loved to encourage our customers to reuse when possible, and buying pre-loved is a great way to do this! Buying pre-loved, as well as ethically produced new clothing, is a great way to fight against fast fashion, and to look after our people and the planet. If you are looking for pre-loved bargains, or have an item that needs to find someone new to love it, then take a look at our pre-loved Babipur B/S/T page on Facebook.
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