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Organic Cotton

Cotton makes clear: Organic is important!


Cotton is particularly skin-friendly and easy to process, which is why it has established itself worldwide as the most popular natural fibre for clothing. However, the fact that a quarter of the world's insecticide requirements are incurred for the cultivation of cotton in return certainly surprises one or the other!

Depending on the growing area, it takes between five and nine months from sowing to harvesting the cotton and during this time the conventionally grown cotton is sprayed on average 20 times with pesticides. The last poison the plant has to put up with is a defoliant - designed to facilitate mechanical harvesting.

Gene manipulation - a big problem with cotton too!

In order to reduce the consumption of sprays and increase the yield, genetically modified seeds are offered and genetically modified cotton plants now grow on about two thirds of the world's land.

The risks of genetic manipulation for humans and the environment cannot yet be assessed. In addition, there is even controversy as to whether manipulation has any effect at all in terms of increasing yields. Even if the plants are more resistant to diseases and pests, farmers repeatedly complain about poor harvests. The fact that the big seed producers demand high prices and often sell seeds only in packages with pesticides does not make it any easier, especially for small farmers.

The biggest obstacle in the cultivation of organic cotton is in fact the fact that small farmers now find it difficult to obtain non-genetically manipulated seeds. They are therefore usually dependent on obtaining as many seeds as possible from their own farmland - but this also makes them independent of the large seed companies.

What are the advantages of organically grown cotton?

Genetic engineering is not permitted for organic cotton and only natural seeds are used. In addition, synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides (such as pesticides) are prohibited in organic cotton. Farmers use traditional methods to keep pests away. In addition, the absence of sprays means that even the natural enemies of the pests survive. The usual crop rotation in organic farming (the fields are alternately planted with different crops) also protects the soil and keeps pests at bay.

Gedüngt wird mit Mist und Kompost und der Humus-Anteil im Boden erhöht auch gleichzeitig die Fähigkeit des Bodens, Wasser zu speichern. Das (und auch das Auffangen und Verwenden von Regenwasser) verringert den Wasserverbrauch enorm - im Vergleich zum konventionellen Anbau bis zu 90 % (je nach Anbaugebiet). Geerntet wird die Baumwolle per Hand ohne den Einsatz von Entlaubungsmitteln.

Manure and compost are used as fertilisers and the humus content in the soil also increases the soil's ability to store water. This (as well as the collection and use of rainwater) reduces water consumption enormously - by up to 90% compared to conventional cultivation (depending on the growing area). The cotton is harvested by hand without the use of defoliants. All this makes organic cultivation more expensive. The profit, however, is in any case on the side of environmental protection and also on the health of the people who work in cotton production and those who ultimately wear it as clothing on their skin. In addition, organic farming supports the work of small farmers.

Where does cotton come from?

Cotton is cultivated on an area of around 30 million hectares worldwide (for comparison: Germany has an area of around 35 million hectares). This area is spread over about 80 countries (and only a quarter of these countries grow organic cotton). The largest cotton producers are India, China, the USA, Brazil and sub-Saharan Africa. Half of the world's organic cotton comes from India, followed by about 20% from China.

Every single shirt made of organic cotton counts!

What do you think: What percentage of the total cotton comes from organic cultivation?

It's not even one percent!

In view of this figure, it is easy to feel powerless as a consumer. But you are by no means that. With every single T-shirt made of organic cotton, you protect around 7 square metres of soil from insecticides and other chemicals. With our buying behaviour we have the possibility to influence the market - and with it the type of production.

Gradually, more and more farmers are opting for organic farming and more and more large manufacturers are switching to raw materials obtained in an environmentally friendly way. And yet sometimes the concern remains that there are black sheep among the suppliers of organic cotton. But the controls are becoming more and more tight and precise and there are many seals you can trust in this respect - such as GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) or the German IVN seal.

The terms "organic" and "from controlled organic cultivation" (kbA) are legally protected and not everyone is allowed to simply declare their goods. You have to be certified and adhere to strict guidelines. Compliance with these guidelines is guaranteed at least once a year by independent

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