The Case For Choosing Organic Cotton

Water shortage queues in India

A good night’s sleep should not come at the expense of ruining someone else’s. Sleep and let sleep. Today and for future generations…. by making the wise and compassionate choice. Do the right thing, and switch to using organic cotton sheets. 

Cotton farming is water intensive, requiring on average 11,000 litres of water to grow just 1kg. Cotton growing accounts for almost 2% of the world’s overall water consumption. Most cotton is grown on small scale farms, under irrigated conditions, which rapidly depletes ground water resources. With an expected global population of 9.6 billion by 2050, water scarcity will impact on how we live, feed and clothe ourselves. Growing cotton mostly under irrigated conditions is unsustainable.

Major cities running out of water

Major cities like Cape Town in South Africa and Chennai in India have experienced drastic depletion of water supplies. This brings the severity of the situation into sharp focus, with research showing that water shortages have the potential to cause conflict and war.

How growing organic cotton helps to conserve water

Organic cotton requires significantly less irrigated water than the conventional type that is mostly grown under irrigated conditions – by up to 80% less.

Organic cotton is mostly grown under rain-fed conditions and the soil is able to retain water for longer than the conventional type GM cotton.

To put into perspective, if all cotton-fibre used in the production of bedlinen just for the UK market was of the organic type, it would result in a saving of almost 54 billion litres of water per annum. Enough to meet the domestic water consumption in UK for over a million people – a city the size of Glasgow – for an entire year!

Conventional cotton - Bad for the environment, and health & mental well-being of farmers and their workers

Over 95% of global cotton production is of the genetically modified (GM) type. GM cotton is damaging to the environment and physical health of farmers because of excessive amounts of pesticides used in growing it. Purchasing GM seeds, pesticides and synthetic fertilisers is not only expensive but also cost-inefficient, as most cotton production occurs on small-scale farms. Farmers often get into debt at unsustainable interest rates to make these purchases.

However, GM cotton has not performed well in India – the world’s largest producer of cotton. Crop failures often result in financial ruin. Unable to pay off their loans and debts, tragic cases of farmer suicides are common.

Untrained use of pesticides

Most farmers aren’t formally trained in pesticide handling and don’t have the right gear to protect themselves from these harmful chemicals. Hospitalisation and fatalities are common. Pesticides and synthetic fertilisers also pollute the wider eco-system, rivers and waterways making the water unusable.

Organic cotton farming contributes towards food security for farmers and better offset of CO2 emissions

Growing organic cotton prohibits the use of synthetic fertilisers or pesticides. Natural herbal pesticides e.g. Neem are used instead. Farmers who grow organic cotton make significant savings, resulting in a better income.

Crop rotation practiced by these farmers helps tackle pests more effectively, and ensures that soil quality is healthier in comparison to where synthetic fertilisers are used. Healthier soils help to tackle climate change, while crop rotation helps farmers become self-sufficient, and enjoy a more secure income.

Organic Cotton Contributes towards a happier and healthier world

Strawberry and Cream bed linen is manufactured from GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified 100% organic cotton. For a product to carry this certification, it has to meet the highest level of environmental and social criteria at every point along the supply chain – from the farm to the finished product.

At farm level, farmers of organic cotton enjoy a better quality of life than conventional growers, as well as better working conditions and a dignified life.  They also play a big part in water conservation, the preservation of biodiversity and the creation of a better eco-system.

At factory level, workers are paid a fair living wage enabling them to live a dignified life. Child labour is prohibited. The use of toxic dyes and chemicals in the production process is prohibited. Detailed records of water consumption and waste water treatment are required to be kept.

You can learn more on the criteria that is required to be met before a product can be labelled as 100% GOTS certified organic cotton).

When you buy our products, with the GOTS certification, you have the assurance of knowing that you’ve made a positive impact in creating a better, happier & healthier world.