Organic Cotton

Historically, organic cotton began as the initiative of social entrepreneurs, farmers and NGOs responding to problems of misuse and overuse of pesticides and to social problems caused by production practices, low prices, and farmer debt. Since the 1980s there has been a steady increase in the availability of certified organic cotton textiles. In 2005, organic cotton production started to expand significantly but still only made up 0.1 percent of total global cotton fiber production. In 2010, only five years later, organic cotton represented 1.1 percent of global production. This is a growth of over 500 percent since 2005! Now organic cotton is firmly established in the market as an ethical fashion choice for aware consumers.1 Organic cotton is currently grown in 23 countries. Most production is taking place in India, Syria, China, Turkey, the United States, Tanzania, and Uganda; although countries in West Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East are also well-established organic cotton producers. Some organic cotton producers are also certified to fair trade standards (where possible), particularly in West Africa and Central and South East Asia.2

1. Textile Exchange Farm & Fiber Report 2010. Summary report available online http://organicexchange.org/oecms/Organic-Exchange-Publications.html

2. Textile Exchange Farm & Fiber Report 2010. Summary report available online http://organicexchange.org/oecms/Organic-Exchange-Publications.html