I’ve received a lot of emails recently promoting the use of organic cotton in the clothing industry, and rightly so.
According to the Soil Association, the non-organic cotton industry uses almost 25 per cent of all the world’s insecticides and 10 per cent of pesticides; toxic pesticides used in non-organic systems kill an estimated 16,000 people each year, and poison wildlife and rivers too.
Meanwhile, an estimated 30 per cent of the world’s non-organic cotton is GM, causing all kinds of social problems as the big companies developing the seeds have a monopoly and thus control many of the farmers. I was shocked to learn that a reported 300,000 Indian cotton farmers have committed suicide since 1995, seemingly due to debt brought about as a result of the way the non-organic cotton industry operates.
For a ‘natural’ product, cotton is certainly not a ‘clean’ product. And cotton used in the beauty industry is no exception. Cotton pads, cotton buds, face wipes; it’s hard to believe that something we use every day, on our most delicate skin, has a very dirty past.
The Soil Association and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) recently joined forces to launch a new global organic cotton initiative to promote the use of organic cotton to clothing brands and the consumer. Under the slogan ‘Have you cottoned on yet?’, the campaign concentrates on the following five benefits of organic cotton farming:
- giving control to farmers
- eliminating dangerous pesticides
- helping farmers feed their families by growing other crops as well
- saving water
- combating climate change.
The campaign focuses on the use of cotton in the clothing industry. But what simpler way could there be to start your changeover to organic cotton than swapping your cotton beauty products for organic versions? Organic cotton beauty products are much more accessible these days, and you can even pick them up while doing your weekly shop. True, they can be a little more expensive than their ‘regular’ counterparts – but I would rather pay that little bit extra and know that my cotton is as clean as nature intended.
How about you?
There is a proposed documentary called Dirty White Gold which is set to expose the cotton industry and help make ethics and sustainability the norm, it sounds like it will be great.