Everyone’s talking about organic cotton – but what does it actually mean?
Organic cotton is grown without pesticides – the chemical substances often used to eliminate pests, mainly parasites, in the cotton field. Organic cotton farmers use other methods instead of pesticides. Some of them are simple, like the practice of crop rotation so that the field doesn’t attract as many parasites. Others are more advanced, such as repelling parasites with the help of odours.
Organic cotton farmers also stay away from chemical fertilisers. Instead, they rely on good old-fashioned manure, often from birds.
Organic cotton is often picked by hand, to avoid having to use heavy machinery and chemical defoliants.
“The main advantage of organic cotton is that the cotton farmers and people working on the plantations escape having to handle chemicals that could be harmful to their health,” says Marcus Bergman, Head of Sustainability at Gina Tricot, who has previously worked with organic cotton. “In cotton plantations around the world, however, toxicity is a far too frequent health problem.”