LEARNING CENTER/ORGANIC COTTON


Cotton has historically been the largest percentage of textile production in the world, only recently being outpaced by polyester. When cotton is grown without regard to soil health, water use, toxicity, or other impacts, it can result in devastating, long-term damage to ecologies and livelihoods of the workers and farmers.

Preferred Cotton (pCotton) is cotton that is ecologically and/or socially progressive because it has more sustainable properties in comparison to other conventional options. Cottons currently defined by Textile Exchange as preferred include: Organic Fair Trade, Organic, Fair Trade, Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and its equivalencies, Cotton made in Africa (CmiA), the REEL Cotton Program (REEL) and recycled cotton.


ABOUT PREFERRED COTTONS


  • Organic-Fair Trade Cotton is cotton that is certified to both Fair Trade and organic standards. Fair Trade standards ensure farmers are paid a minimum price and require farmers to organize into democratic producer organizations. Organic farm standards ensure that the cotton is grown within a rotation system that builds soil fertility, protects biodiversity, and is grown without the use of any synthetic fertilizers, hazardous pesticides or GMOs.

    Fairtrade International Fair Trade USA

  • Organic Cotton is grown within a rotation system that builds soil fertility, protects biodiversity, and is grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, toxic pesticides or GMOs. The Organic Content Standard (OCS) and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) provide third party assurance on organic product claims. In addition, GOTS includes environmental and social responsibility in processing.

  • Fair Trade is a global movement to support small-scale, marginalized farmers and workers. Fair Trade standards require farmers to organize into democratic producer organizations and to have environmentally sound agricultural practices. In return, they are guaranteed the Fairtrade Minimum Price (FMP) and a Fairtrade Premium that goes towards community development. GMOs are banned in the Fair Trade standard.

    Fairtrade International Fair Trade USA

  • Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) is an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation (AbTF) that helps smallholder cotton farmers in Africa improve their living conditions. Growers must meet minimum environmental and social requirements for their cotton to qualify as CmiA. GMOs are banned in the CmiA standard.

    Cotton made in Africa

  • Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) sets out to improve the sustainability of mainstream cotton production. Growers must meet minimum environmental and social requirements for their cotton to qualify as Better Cotton. Continuous improvement is a key element of the BCI Assurance Program.

    Better Cotton Initiative

  • The REEL Cotton Program is CottonConnect’s three-year agricultural program providing farmers with training on sustainable cotton farming practices. The REEL Code is used to verify that farmers in the REEL Cotton Program are using more sustainable practices, with additional program elements that ensure traceability and decent work.

    REEL Cotton Program

  • Bayer e3 is an initiative standard aimed at creating a more sustainable American landscape. Farmers sign up to commit to grow cotton more efficiently and without harming the environment using superior seeds that produces quality fiber.

    Bayer e3

  • Recycled Cotton has been re-processed from reclaimed cotton. The Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) and the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) are chain of custody standards to track the use of recycled content through the supply chain. The GRS, in addition, includes social and environmental requirements that must be met during the processing stages.
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The remaining information in this section will focus on organic, as it’s where Textile Exchange has invested and built knowledge over the last 15 years.



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LEARNING MODULES/BASIC


>  Quick Guide to Organic Cotton •  pdf | public

>  Organic Cotton Sourcing Guide – Turkey •  pdf | public

>  Farm Engagement Annual Report: 2012 | 2013   •  pdf | public

>  World Environment Day 2011 •  pdf | public

>  Cotton Briefings 2011  •  pdf | public

>  Assessing Sustainability 2010  •  pdf | public

>  A Snapshot of Crop Diversification  2010 •  pdf | public

>  Farm System Crops Baseline Report 2009  •  pdf | public

>  Farm Program. The First Five Years – 2006-2010  •  pdf | public

>  Export Logistics – An Introductory Guide to Procedures 2009  •  pdf | public

>  Why Africa Stands Out 2009  •  pdf | public

>  Resource Directory Southern and Eastern Africa 2008  •  pdf | public

>  Sowing The Seeds of Change 2006  •  pdf | public

>  Material Summary: Cotton Better  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Cotton Cleaner  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Cotton Conventional  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Cotton Fairtrade  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Cotton made in Africa  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Cotton Organic   •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Cotton Recycled  •  pdf | member/paid



LEARNING MODULES/BASIC


>  Quick Guide to Organic Cotton •  pdf | public

>  Organic Cotton Sourcing Guide – Turkey •  pdf | public

>  Farm Engagement Annual Report: 2012 | 2013   •  pdf | public

>  World Environment Day 2011 •  pdf | public

>  Cotton Briefings 2011  •  pdf | public

>  Assessing Sustainability 2010  •  pdf | public

>  A Snapshot of Crop Diversification  2010 •  pdf | public

>  Farm System Crops Baseline Report 2009  •  pdf | public

>  Farm Program. The First Five Years – 2006-2010  •  pdf | public

>  Export Logistics – An Introductory Guide to Procedures 2009  •  pdf | public

>  Why Africa Stands Out 2009  •  pdf | public

>  Resource Directory Southern and Eastern Africa 2008  •  pdf | public

>  Sowing The Seeds of Change 2006  •  pdf | public

>  Material Summary: Cotton Better  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Cotton Cleaner  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Cotton Conventional  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Cotton Fairtrade  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Cotton made in Africa  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Cotton Organic   •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Summary: Cotton Recycled  •  pdf | member/paid


Explore the world of organic cotton

Read what farmers’ have to say about organic and discover organic in action on our microsite. 

aboutorganiccotton.org
 

KEY CHALLENGES


SEED & SOIL
Access to good quality, non-GMO seed is necessary to meet the needs of the organic agricultural standard while delivering on fiber quality and meeting industry specifications. Productivity in organic is dependent upon healthy, fertile soil as well as good quality seed. Avoiding and addressing contamination from GMO seed is also key to the success of organic cotton.

INTEGRITY
Success for all depends upon re-imagining and re-engineering supply chains to improve business security for growers and for organic to scale up. Incubating new ways of working, driving best practices, and ensuring product integrity is integral to improved business models and the resilience of the sector.

BUSINESS MODEL
Success for all depends upon re-imagining and re-engineering supply chains to improve business security for growers and for organic to scale up. Incubating new ways of working, driving best practices, and ensuring product integrity is integral to improved business models and the resilience of the sector.

CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT
The consumer is part of the organic cotton value chain. Educating and driving consumer demand are vital parts of the business models. Brands and retailers of organic cotton need to see a return on investment. They invest significantly in product placement and talk directly to their customer, so consumer engagement is critical.



LEARNING MODULES/APPLICATION


>  Organic Cotton Market Report: 2013 | 2014 | 20162017   •  pdf | public

>  Organic Cotton Farm & Fiber Report: 2009 |  2010 | 2011  | 2012   •  pdf | public

>  Case Study: Agrocel (India)  •  pdf | public

>  Case Study: Aratex (Paraguay)  •  pdf | public

>  Case Study: BioSustain (Tanzania)  •  pdf | public

>  Case Study: Chetna Organic (India)  •  pdf | public

>  Case Study: Oro Blanco (Peru)  •  pdf | public

>  Case Study: Remei AG/BioRe (India, Tanzania)  •  pdf | public

>  Case Study: SEKEM (Egypt)  •  pdf | public

>  Case Study: Zameen (India)  •  pdf | public

>  Collaborative Learning Series: Creating Shared Value  •  pdf | public

>  Collaborative Learning Series: Measuring Sustainability  •  pdf | public

>  Collaborative Learning Series: Holistic Value Chain •  pdf | public

>  Collaborative Learning Series: Business Case For Sustainability •  pdf | public

>  Collaborative Learning Series: Consumer Engagement •  pdf | public

>  Organic Textile Labeling in the US  •  webinar | public

>  Organic In Action: BioKishovarz Coop – Achieving Independence  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: BioRe – BioRe’s Assured Integrity  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: Chetna Organic – Tracking From Farm to Fiber  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: Esplar – Growing Together  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: Esquel – Redefining Corporate Success  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: GAP Project – The Cradle of Sustainable Civilisations  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: Jubilee House – Bringing Back Cotton  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: Karnataka – Safe Haven for Wildlife  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: Louis Bolk Institute – Participatory Cotton Breeding  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: Mecilla Project – Seed Soverignty  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: MOBIOM – Diversification of Organic Options  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: New Expo – A Family Affair  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: OBEPAB – Farmers Contributing to Technology  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: Pratibha – Advancing the Organic Movement  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: SEKEM – Composting for Sustainable Agriculture  •  pdf | public


>  Material Snapshot: BCI Cotton  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Cotton – China  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Cotton – India  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Cotton – USA   •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Organic Cotton  •  pdf | member/paid



LEARNING MODULES/APPLICATION


>  Organic Cotton Market Report: 2013 | 2014 | 20162017   •  pdf | public

>  Organic Cotton Farm & Fiber Report: 2009 |  2010 | 2011  | 2012   •  pdf | public

>  Case Study: Agrocel (India)  •  pdf | public

>  Case Study: Aratex (Paraguay)  •  pdf | public

>  Case Study: BioSustain (Tanzania)  •  pdf | public

>  Case Study: Chetna Organic (India)  •  pdf | public

>  Case Study: Oro Blanco (Peru)  •  pdf | public

>  Case Study: Remei AG/BioRe (India, Tanzania)  •  pdf | public

>  Case Study: SEKEM (Egypt)  •  pdf | public

>  Case Study: Zameen (India)  •  pdf | public

>  Collaborative Learning Series: Creating Shared Value  •  pdf | public

>  Collaborative Learning Series: Measuring Sustainability  •  pdf | public

>  Collaborative Learning Series: Holistic Value Chain •  pdf | public

>  Collaborative Learning Series: Business Case For Sustainability •  pdf | public

>  Collaborative Learning Series: Consumer Engagement •  pdf | public

>  Organic Textile Labeling in the US  •  webinar | public

>  Organic In Action: BioKishovarz Coop – Achieving Independence  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: BioRe – BioRe’s Assured Integrity  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: Chetna Organic – Tracking From Farm to Fiber  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: Esplar – Growing Together  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: Esquel – Redefining Corporate Success  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: GAP Project – The Cradle of Sustainable Civilisations  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: Jubilee House – Bringing Back Cotton  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: Karnataka – Safe Haven for Wildlife  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: Louis Bolk Institute – Participatory Cotton Breeding  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: Mecilla Project – Seed Soverignty  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: MOBIOM – Diversification of Organic Options  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: New Expo – A Family Affair  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: OBEPAB – Farmers Contributing to Technology  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: Pratibha – Advancing the Organic Movement  •  pdf | public

>  Organic In Action: SEKEM – Composting for Sustainable Agriculture  •  pdf | public


>  Material Snapshot: BCI Cotton  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Cotton – China  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Cotton – India  •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Cotton – USA   •  pdf | member/paid

>  Material Snapshot: Organic Cotton  •  pdf | member/paid

FIRST STEPS TO USING ORGANIC COTTON

You can find a certified organic cotton supplier or manufacturer by accessing the OCS or GOTS database. 



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LEARNING MODULES/ADVANCE


>  A Best Practices Guide For Organic Cotton Trade Models  •  pdf | public

 Organic Cotton: A Fiber Classification Guide  •  pdf | public

>  The Life Cycle Assessment of Organic Cotton Fiber  •  pdf | public

>  Sustainability Assessment: Introducing OC-SAT  •  webinar | public

>  Summary of Findings: Organic Cotton Sustainability Assessment Tool   •  pdf | public

>  The OCRT in 90 Seconds   •  video | public

>  Leo Johnson: The Massive Small   •  video | public

>  Is Transformational Integrity Possible?   •  video | public

>  Coexistence of Organic and GM   •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: Business As If People Mattered  •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: Efficiency From Stability and Trust  •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: Creating Stakeholder Value  •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: The Economy of Love  •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: Engaging The Consumer  •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: Sealed with a Handshake  •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: Using Data to Drive The Market  •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: Harnessing The Power of The Market •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: Cooperation, Transparency & Faith  •  video | public



LEARNING MODULES/ADVANCE


>  A Best Practices Guide For Organic Cotton Trade Models  •  pdf | public

 Organic Cotton: A Fiber Classification Guide  •  pdf | public

>  The Life Cycle Assessment of Organic Cotton Fiber  •  pdf | public

>  Sustainability Assessment: Introducing OC-SAT  •  webinar | public

>  Summary of Findings: Organic Cotton Sustainability Assessment Tool   •  pdf | public

>  The OCRT in 90 Seconds   •  video | public

>  Leo Johnson: The Massive Small   •  video | public

>  Is Transformational Integrity Possible?   •  video | public

>  Coexistence of Organic and GM   •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: Business As If People Mattered  •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: Efficiency From Stability and Trust  •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: Creating Stakeholder Value  •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: The Economy of Love  •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: Engaging The Consumer  •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: Sealed with a Handshake  •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: Using Data to Drive The Market  •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: Harnessing The Power of The Market •  video | public

>  Out of The Box: Cooperation, Transparency & Faith  •  video | public


Learn about the impacts on the ground.

The Organic Cotton-Sustainability Assessment Tool (OC-SAT) is an online tool that
explores the environmental, social and economic impacts of organic agriculture. 

Organic Cotton – Sustainability Assessment Tool
 

JOIN THE ORGANIC COTTON ROUND TABLE


The Organic Cotton Round Table (OCRT) is a global stakeholder platform that supports and brings together the organic cotton community to be inspired, mobilized, and equipped to act.

The OCRT has on-going Task Forces for Business ModelsSeed & Soils, and Consumer Engagement, as well as an Innovation Lab that seeks out and celebrates new ideas in organic cotton.

Every year since its inception in Hong Kong 2012, the OCRT has held an in person meeting alongside the annual Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference. In 2017, Textile Exchange launched the first official Regional OCRT in Izmir, Turkey. The 2018 Regional OCRT will take place on 10-11th May – find out more here!

Click on the links to the right to read about all past and upcoming meetings.

To take part in the OCRT, please contact Materials@TextileExchange.org

2018 MEETINGS
—————–
Regional OCRT Izmir, 10-11 May
Regional OCRT Burkina Faso, 27-29 Sept
Global OCRT Milan, 22-24 Oct

PAST MEETINGS
—————–
Global OCRT 2017, Washington D.C.
Regional OCRT 2017, Izmir
Global OCRT 2016, Hamburg
Global OCRT 2015, Mumbai
Global OCRT 2014, Portland
Global OCRT 2013, Istanbul
Global OCRT 2012, Hong Kong

REGIONAL WORKING GROUPS