The most important reason why Surviving Society uses organic cotton garments?
To help the environment and promote sustainability within the fashion industry.
We use organic cotton apparel, verified by a third-party organisation with standards that meet an environmental and social criteria. The cotton is grown on farms that avoid using harmful synthetic chemicals such as, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and fertilisers. Cotton plants used in organic farming are free from genetic modification enabling the ecosystem to thrive as the soil remains rich in CO2. This improves crop production and maintains biodiversity as suitable habitats are supported.
In addition, organic cotton farming creates an opportunity to replenish soil nutrients through crop rotations, use of animal manures, and natural pest and weed control. The healthy soil conserves more water because less irrigation use is required and soil fertility is protected. There is also more resistance to floods and drought by using non-genetically modified plants.
It takes three years for farmers growing organic cotton to rid the soil of toxic chemicals and pesticides. Only then can their land be certified organic.
(Image Source: About Organic Cotton, 2016)
A major benefit of organically farmed cotton is that it is safer for workers and their working conditions as the air and surface water are not polluted with the use of toxic chemicals. Farm workers who have had the unfortunate task of handling and processing cotton treated with poisonous chemicals have had health complications sometimes resulting in death. According to the Soil Association, this is reported to be 16,000 human deaths each year.
Less than 1% of the worlds cotton production is organic. Manufacturing and production costs are greatly reduced as is climate change since less fossil fuels are needed for machinery and irrigation.
Organic cotton is hypoallergenic so there is no risk of the garments causing skin irritation or an allergy due to unsafe chemical residues. This is particularly reassuring if you are buying clothing for your babies and/or children.
(Sources of information: Global Standard, 2016; Soil Association, 2018; Textile Exchange, 2016; The Royal Society, 2018).