Cotton makes up around half of everything we wear, yet only 1% of cotton global production is organic. And while traditional cotton farming covers just around 2.5% of the global agricultural land, it absorbs 16-25% of all insecticides produced globally. Every hectare of conventional cotton utilizes one kilogram (approx.) of harmful pesticides, causing extreme pesticide poisoning for about 1%- 3% or 25-77 million farmworkers globally. However, cotton cultivation goes beyond pesticide risks--- textile dyeing and finishing are responsible for 20% of global water contamination.
According to a water usage highlight by Treehugger, it takes—
- 1,500 gallons of water for a single barrel of beer.
- 53 gallons for a to-go latte cup.
- 13 gallons of water for a gallon of paint.
- 85 gallons of water for an average commercial plastic bottle. .
- 39,090 gallons of water to manufacture one vehicle.
- 518 gallons of water to manufacture a vehicle tire.
- 1,800 gallons to produce one pair of jeans.
- 400 gallons to produce one t-shirt.
- 4 gallons of water for one lumber board.
Scarcity of water is amongst the leading hazards to societal structure in the nearest future. And while the numbers are upsetting, what makes things worse is that cotton is farmed in the worst water-scarce regions of the world.
The organic cotton switch— a small price to pay for the greater good.
Switching to organically grown cotton can help lessen the global warming impact of cotton cultivation. Organic farming uses natural fertilizers including compost, animal dung, and other natural biological materials. It restores and preserves soil fertility by recycling the nitrogen in the soil and cutting carbon emissions.
Organic farming practices promote biological diversity in agriculture, and limit the use of hazardous pesticides, fertilizers, and genetically altered seeds. It works in harmony with nature.
Farmers involved in organic cotton cultivation save rain resources, nourish communities, eliminate GMOs and dangerous chemicals by employing organic products, and tackle climate change. Organic farming practices also prevent the soil from turning spongy which makes the corps more droughts and flood tolerant.
We will now visit some of the key points why organic cotton is the better option for mankind and the environment.
The Key Benefits of Organic Cotton
The use of natural fertilizers in organic cotton farming improves the soil, and according to a study— using 100% organic cotton lowers the global warming effect by 46%, acidification by 70%, freshwater consumption by 91%, energy usage by 62%, and soil erosion by 26%.
Organic cotton is hard to emulate when it relates to credible and traceable sustainability claims for humans and the environment. It is not just a socially and environmentally beneficial choice, but also commercially viable, thanks to the high-demand market. The consumer demand for organic cotton is estimated to be approximately US$ 800 million and US$ 1 billion.
Amid a rapidly changing environment, organic crops can provide the farming communities a more consistent, accessible, and plentiful food supply. It increases the potential of livelihood income by 22-35%, according to a study by PNAS. Implementing organic farming allows the farmers to exercise control over the seeds and the fertilizers. It takes away the decision-making power from the GM crop firms, which prevents the fatal cycle of genetically modified cotton. Riddled with flaws and assurances, GM technology has resulted in growing indebtedness and countless suicide fatalities of the farming communities.
In organic farming, farmers can cultivate sustainably by operating with nature. The employment of natural methods over hazardous chemical combinations also promotes pests and disease control.
Toxic pesticides harm ecosystems, poison streams, and put workers in danger that do not have access to proper protective gear. Organic farming techniques, like crop rotation, on the other hand, nourish the soil, allow the growth of healthy plants, and do not expose the farmers to industrial fertilizers. It also helps in neutralizing the 16% of global insecticides caused by conventional cotton farming.
Looking Out For Organic Certification such as GOTS:
Organic certification reassures consumers that a product labeled as organic was made per organic production guidelines.
While many fashion and textile firms value transparency, there are a bunch who conceal the truth about their company operation. This is why you want to look out for organic logos indicating that the item has passed a stringent set of third-party-verified standards.
GOTs certification ensures the meeting of ecological and sustainability requirements along the supply chain— the product is organic right from the farm to the shelf. Textiles brands bearing the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) label reflect that manufacture and production processes are done in compliance with human and ecological standards. It also entails safe working conditions and fair labor wages and rights. GOTS organic allows only low-impact chemicals, regulates water and energy consumption, and ensures the proper disposal of wastewater.
At Terra Thread, we are committed to making our backpacks and bags in the most responsible way. Our backpacks are produced using Organic AND Fairtrade cotton and manufactured as per the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). We know that the products we make have unavoidable climate impacts so we are supporting carbon offset projects. Terra Thread's sustainable backpacks are carbon neutral.