Where does organic cotton come from
How much is harvested?
The harvest of the coveted natural fiber increased to 138,813 tons in 2012. This corresponds to a share of around 0.5 percent of the global cotton harvest, which is around 26.8 million tons.
Where does the organic cotton come from?
The largest amount of organic cotton is harvested in India - 74 percent of all organic cotton comes from there. Far behind are Turkey (11 percent), China (6 percent), and Sub-Saharan Africa (6 percent).
Who buys the most organic cotton?
The five big ones are called: C&A, H&M, Nike, Puma and Coop Switzerland. In 2012, C&A alone consumed 16.2 percent of global cultivation. Both H&M and C&A are expanding their organic cotton range, but so is Otto, which had an organic cotton growth rate of around 40 percent.
How important are synthetic fibers on the world textile market?
Almost 60 percent of all fibers for clothing today come from chemical plants. Conventional cotton contributes 40 percent. Other natural fibers such as wool, flax or hemp are hardly significant in terms of quantity. By far the most economically important synthetic fiber is polyester. This compound accounts for almost 80 percent of global man-made fiber production.
What's better about organic cotton?
Conventionally grown cotton is treated extensively with artificial fertilizers and pesticides - 150 grams of poison land on the field for each T-shirt. The fibers for a shirt made of organic cotton, on the other hand, are produced without any agricultural toxins. The biggest environmental problem, however, is the cotton trees' enormous thirst for water. Around 2000 liters of water are needed to harvest enough fluffy seed threads for a T-shirt. Of course, organic cotton also has to be watered - rain alone is usually not enough.
How do other natural fibers perform?
Compared to organic cotton, other natural fibers such as hemp or flax (linen) appear more environmentally friendly because they require considerably less water. So far, however, they have hardly played a role in the growing green fashion market - hemp is predicted to have a breakthrough on the catwalks in 2008. 2009 is the UN year of natural fibers: for some exotic trees such as sisal, nettle, coconut or kapok - a tropical tree whose fruits can be used to produce fibers - the manufacturers hope this will increase their popularity.
What is fair trade about?
So-called fair trade primarily helps the people who produce the goods. In poorer countries, “Fairtrade” guarantees decent working conditions and a living wage. In Germany, TransFair has been awarding a seal for fairly traded products since 1992 - coffee, tea, bananas, chocolate and now also textiles.
What is different about fair trade cotton?
Externally, the jeans and shirts made from fair-trade organic cotton look just like clothing made from conventional cotton. But the cotton farmers do not have to sell their harvest at dumping prices on the world market, but receive 36 cents per kilo of cotton, for organic cotton even 41 cents and a premium to finance social products. This means that a Fairtrade shirt costs around three euros more.
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