FAIR TRADE COTTON
C O N V E N T I O N A L v s . O R G A N I C C O T T O N
As cheaply made, mass-produced fast fashion continually floods the US market, it creates waste, environmental issues and all the cultural problems of disposable consumerism.
Cotton has some of the highest pesticide and chemical use. Most pesticides were originally developed as toxic nerve agents during WWII and have been linked to cancers, neurological and developmental disorders. According to PAN, nearly $2.6 billion worth of pesticides are sprayed on cotton fields each year —accounting for more than 10% of total pesticide use and nearly 25% of insecticide use worldwide.
Organic cotton is grown with natural means and uses sustainable practices. These include manual farming, using high quality resilient seed varieties, crop rotation, water conserving methods and botanical pest control. Strict testing is conducted to ensure the absence of hazardous elements like nickel, lead, formaldehyde, amines, pesticides and heavy metals.The eco-friendly processing uses recycled water, bio fuels, reduces electric use and conserves and recycles resources.
Our tees and onesies are GOTS certified. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain.
F A I R T R A D E
When it comes to ethical apparel choices, the ‘Made in USA’ label does not always guarantee that workers are paid minimum wages and work in safe conditions. The Fair Trade Certification™ provides the US consumer an opportunity to make a direct, lasting impact in impoverished communities and give a worker a leg up, not a hand out.
By purchasing fair trade cotton goods, you are empowering small-scale farmers and pushing the industry to become sustainable. Since the introduction of fair trade cotton, their goal has been to also address the unsafe and unfair labor conditions in cotton processing and textile factories. In 2016, Fairtrade introduced the new Fairtrade Textile Standard and Programme to reach people at all stages of the textile production chain – from seed cotton to finished garments.
Here are some more advantages:
- Fair trade works with farmers to stop or reduce the usage of agrochemicals and supports them to adapt to changing climate patterns. Requirements in the fair trade standards also protect farmers’ health and safety, and ban genetically modified cotton seeds.
- For factory workers, fair trade ensures that no child labor is used, employers pay decent wages, maintain health and safety standards and provide a conducive work environment. Workers receive training about their rights and grievance procedures and are guaranteed the right to join trade unions. Each product sold as ‘Fair Trade Certified’ contributes an additional 5% of the production cost to a mill workers fund set up specifically to supplement wages.
- Women empowerment is a key component of fair trade. Women participate in decision making in the fair trade project. This benefits entire communities as they often invest in new services, local business and community projects like child care and schooling. Standards at the mill level mandates equal pay, standards for maternity leave, healthcare and freedom from harassment.
- The environment benefits from fair trade practices. Fair prices cover the costs of sustainable production which allows purchase of high quality, safe inputs and better use of resources. It allows farmers the use of safer ecological methods that preserve the environment, not degrade it.
By paying a little more, you can make a powerful lasting impact and create livelihoods of dignity. You get high quality products, peace of mind and the opportunity to invest in small scale enterprises in economies with the greatest disparities. The fair trade movement presents an opportunity to address grave issues like poverty alleviation, social justice, human and women’s rights.