On choosing organic cotton over every other option

Author: Syvannah Wilson with Erica Bartle   Date Posted: 19 December 2016 

Outland Denim's impact studies have shown that organic cotton, as apposed to Fair Trade or traditional cotton, has a minimal negative environmental and social impact. 

Here are some important facts to keep in mind when deciding to buy organic cotton garments:

  • Organic cotton farming strictly prohibits the use of potentially toxic synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, and thus poses a much lower health risk to people and the planet. For example, organic cotton can result in up to 90% less water pollution and use than conventional farming, leading to healthier waterways and more and safe drinking water.
  • Organic farming has been shown to increase environmental health and, in turn, farm productivity.
  • Organic cotton farmers (many of whom live in impoverished developing countries) can earn 5-60% more for their cotton than conventional cotton farmers; this in conjunction with lower farming costs causes a 27% increase in farmer’s gross profit. These then result in a higher income that improves farmers’ living standards and reduces poverty.
  • Many organic farmers form local cooperatives, which increases their opportunities to share knowledge, bargain for a fair price for their cotton, attend workshops and gain new skills. All of these then aid in improving farming methods to further reduce environmental impacts while also aiding in the personal and financial growth of farmers.
  • Organic farming produces a variety of benefits to the wider community such as fuelling rural economies through locally sourced farm inputs, creating jobs, and prohibition of pesticides resulting in less health issues.
  • Gender equality is important for both the social and economic development of any country. Organic farming is improving gender equality by encouraging female participation on farms and in decision making, as well as paying female workers 12.1% more compared to their conventional cotton farming counterparts; leading to empowerment and an increase in social standing of these women within communities.