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If you are a regular shopper at Eva's World you'll have noticed how a large range of our products are made from GOTS Certified Cotton. You might have always wondered what it is and why it's important. In this blog post we'll explain the meaning behind GOTS certification and explore the advantages and disadvantages of non-organic and organic cotton production and farming.

What is GOTS certification?

In order for a company to become GOTS certified, they must follow a set of guidelines laid out by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). GOTS is recognised as the world's leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres. Not only do they define strict environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain, but they also require compliance with social criteria as well. Their key aim is to promote ecological and social responsibility and ensure that the consumer is achieving the best possible end product.

The disadvantages of of non-organic cotton

There are some big differences between conventional cotton and organic cotton. Cotton is the most popular fabric used word wide, however, it is a difficult crop to grow. In order to keep up with the demand, many cotton farmers have resorted to artificial means and excessive use of pesticides to make cotton grow faster. Globally, cotton growing uses 6% of the world’s pesticides (and 16% of insecticides), more than any other single major crop.

This use of pesticides and insecticides in conventional cotton growing is worrying for many reasons and has led cotton to be called the world’s ‘dirtiest’ crop. Another harsh reality of non-organic cotton production and manufacturing is its carbon footprint. It is estimated that the global consumption of cotton releases around 220 million tonnes of CO2 and consumes around 4% of the world’s nitrogen fertilisers. A study concluded that 1 tonne of cotton fibre produces 1.8 tonnes of CO2.

Another worrying aspect of non-organic cotton farming is the use of water. Cotton production accounts for 3% of global water consumption for crop production, and just 1kg of cotton fibre will require 10,000 litres of water! It's not just the crops that use a lot of water; consumption increases as cotton products move through the textile supply chain and it takes an estimated 2,700 litres of water to make just one non-organic cotton t-shirt.

Why choose GOTS certified organic cotton clothing?

The GOTS certification process was set up to negate the damaging ecological and social effects that non-organic cotton production has on the world. Some of the key criteria for organic cotton processing and manufacturing include:

  • All operators must have an environmental policy
  • Packaging material must not contain PVC
  • Prohibition of inputs such as toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, functional nano particles, genetically modified organisms (GMO)
  • Producers must keep full records of the use of chemicals, energy, water consumption and waste water treatment
  • Bleaches must be based on oxygen (no chlorine bleaching)
  • The use of synthetic sizing agents is restricted

These procedures seem to be working as a study of organic cotton in one region of India found a 40% reduction in global warming potential, 72% lower primary energy demand, and lower water consumption. Organic cotton also meets a wide range of social criteria that are put in place to protect workers and these include:

  • Living wages
  • Employment is freely chosen
  • Working conditions are safe and hygienic
  • Child labour must not be used
  • Working hours are not excessive
  • Harsh or inhumane treatment is prohibited
  • No discrimination is practised

Evidence consistently shows that making the switch to organic cotton farming will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as delivering a number of other environmental, human health and social benefits. When you buy organic cotton clothing you are not only protecting our environment but you are also supporting the people who farm and produce the clothes we and our children wear. You can browse our entire range of gorgeous organic cotton clothing here.