Booming vs stagnant
The Organic food industry is surging. In the US almost 14% of all fruit and veg sold is organic and 5% of all supermarket items. Over 82% of US households are buying some form of organic products in 2018.
But these facts don't come as any great surprise. Organic food alternatives have been steadily filling our shelves for a number of years as people from all socio- economic backgrounds subscribe to the benefits of eating foods untouched by harmful pesticides and insecticides and grown from genetically modified seeds. A choice no longer typically reserved by eco-conscious hipsters or health savvy It Girls.
Unfortunately the same can't be said for the crops that typically make our clothing and it begs the question to ask why? Cotton alternatives such as Hemp, Bamboo and Tencel have had their day and are on most consumers radar. However none look like making it mainstream anytime soon as it seems our love of the cotton fibre is near impossible to replace.
A large contribution
Cotton makes up 40% of the worlds textile production and 2.5% of the planets total crops. Only 1% of this is produced organically, meaning the other 99% contributes 25% of world's insecticides and 16% of the world's pesticides contaminating the local water, birds, fish and other wildlife.
Again we ask why is this? From an environmental stand point the benefits of organic cotton are equally as beneficial as it is for food crops. Crop rotation, inter-cropping and composting improve soil quality in the long term and also reduces water pollution by 98%. Greenhouse gases are reduced by 94%. Not only is this great for the birds, animals and insects that live in these environments but also the farmers that work the land who are able to plant other food crops to feed their families.
Did you know that there are 20,000 deaths globally each year caused by pesticide poisoning and a further 77 million suffer illnesses? Another shocking statistic that couldn't be further from mind when choosing what trendy jeans we should get next.
So again we ask why don't we, as a population who are consciously reaching to make better choices to improve the world we live in making the right choices when it comes to clothing production? Can we assume that when it comes to this choice we can't see that same benefits with fabric as we do with food. Food benefits both the environment and our bodies. But it's difficult to see the same same benefits in the latter when it comes to the clothes we wear.
Eight out of the top ten pesticides used on cotton leave a residue and are considered hazardous to our health by causing skin irritation and dermatitis. Even allergies and respiratory problems can be brought on, especially in younger children.
Consumers also receive better quality clothes when they are produced using organically grown cotton. The fibres are simply better quality and will last longer than common cotton.
It seems consumers are much less aware of these hazards common non-organic cotton has on our health. Could it be because few brands use it, so therefore less content is created and promoted in its favour. After all, it usually takes a financial gain for a cause or topic to gain any traction, so if few businesses are poised to profit then the population simply won't find out. Can we really be blamed, or are we too reliant on businesses telling us what we should do in order to make change?
At Comoditi we feel it's time for consumers to start championing all organic farming whether it's food crops, those used to make our clothes or any other crop for that matter. The benefits may be less obvious to ourselves but for the environment and the farmers that grow it, the benefits remain the same. They are ones far more important, even critical to the future of our communities and environments.
Some key takeaways...