Organic Cotton - Fair-a-Porter

Guide

Hand-picked cotton © Ollivier Girard for CIFOR

Organic Cotton

Cotton grown without the use of chemicals or pesticides

Cotton grown free of toxic chemicals using biologically based and sustainable growing methods (such as crop rotation) rather than with highly synthetic and destructive fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides or pesticides. Certified organic cotton must adhere to a strict set of guidelines based on the scientific method of organic agriculture. Organic cotton

Only 2.5% of farmland through the world is used to grow cotton, yet the crop accounts for 10% of all chemical pesticides and 22% of insecticide use. These chemicals cause environmental destruction, reducing biodiversity and contaminating water supplies. They are also bioaccumulative, so the chemicals just add up year on year. Not only that, but it also uses a vast amount of water – in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, the Aral Sea has almost disappeared as the water that used to flow into it has disappeared into cotton fields.

Organic cotton is grown without the use of agrochemicals like pesticides and fertilisers. Farmers use natural pesticides that deter pests without killing them. They also use intercropping, where secondary crops can be grown in and around the cotton, creating natural barriers to more pests. So organic cotton an make a real difference to the environment and to farmer’s livelihoods.

Standards for organic certification vary from country to country.

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