FABRICS FAQ : eco-fabrics with organic cotton

According to the Organic Trade Association, organic cotton not only eliminates the harmful fertilizers, pesticides, and chemicals used in conventional (or traditional) cotton, organic certification also includes systems for production, processing, distributing and selling organic products to assure that they maintain the "organic integrity" that begins on a farm. Organic cotton production addresses the problems of conventional cotton. According to a 2006 study titled The sustainability of cotton- Consequences for man and environment, conventional cotton uses 11% of the world's pesticides even though it is grown on only 2.4% of the world's farmable land. Additionally, it causes many health problems such as salinization (too much salt in soil makes it infertile), desertification (overexploitation of vegetations causing rapid depletion of plant life and loss of topsoil at desert boundaries), and poisoning of the environment including human health. Additionally, insecticides used to grow cotton accounts for 25% of global insecticide consumption. By choosing organic cotton textiles over conventional cotton textiles, one supports not only lessening the impact of harmful fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, and chemicals used for cultivation, but also implementing systems that evaluate for environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing and labeling.

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Organic cotton certification for textiles accounts not only for the agricultural element of growing cotton, but also the industrial manufacturing of organic cotton fabrics.

The Control Union World Group is a global organization that offers a wide range of certification programs, including third party certification of textiles such as organic cotton by applying the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) as well as Organic Exchange (OE). According to the Control Union World Group, both programs were developed in cooperation with textile industry experts, consumer organizations, and environmental groups.

Whereas Organic Exchange is utilized primarily by the apparel industry, GOTS is currently the preferred standard for measuring organic cotton in the interior design textile industry.

According to their website, GOTS creates standards with the goal of defining requirements "to ensure the organic status of textiles, from harvesting of the raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labeling, in order to provide a credible assurance to the end consumer."

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) aims to define requirements ensuring the organic status of textiles, including harvesting of raw materials, environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing, and labeling, in order to provide end consumers with credible assurance. The GOTS standard covers production, processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, exportation, importation and distribution of all natural fibers and may include (but are not limited to) fiber products, yarns, fabrics and clothes. Final products that are produced and manufactured in compliance with the compulsory criteria of the standards will be labeled "Global Organic Textile Standard." There are two subdivisions of the standard. The first is "organic" or "organic-in conversion" which means that 95% of the fibers must be of certified organic (or in conversion) origin. The remaining 5% may be of non-organic fibers including synthetic materials. The second category is for products containing 70-95% of fibers of certified organic (or in conversion) origin, and will be labeled to reflect the exact percentage. For more information, please visit www.global-standard.org