Organic cotton is cotton which is produced according to the internationally recognized organic farming standards of the EU regulation 834/2007, of the USA National Organic Program (NOP), the Indian National Program for Organic Production (NPOP) or the Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS).
Cotton covers 2.5% of the world’s cultivated land yet uses 16% of the world’s insecticides, more than any other single major crop. It can take almost a 1/3 pound of synthetic fertilizers to grow one pound of raw cotton in the US, and it takes just under one pound of raw cotton to make one t-shirt. – Environmental Justice Foundation
About Organic Trade
Organic trade organizations focus on the organic business. Their mission is to promote ethical consumerism, promoting and protecting the growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy.
“Organic labelling offers consumers confidence that their goods are produced under controlled organic standards.” — European Commission
Organic refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. It includes a system of production, processing, distribution and sales that assures consumers that the products maintain the organic integrity that begins on the farm.
Organic clothing is clothing made from materials raised or grown in compliance with organic agricultural standards. Organic clothing uses cotton, jute, silk, ramie, or wool. Retailers charge more for organic clothing because the material used are free from chemicals or genetically modified seeds. Alternative terms are organic fashion, organic cloths.
Your organic cotton t-shirt might be worse for the environment than regular cotton
Organic cotton, by definition, comes from plants that have not been genetically modified. Because of that difference, to get the same amount of fiber from an organic crop and a conventional crop, you’ll have to plant more organic plants, which means using more land. That land, of course, has to be tended and irrigated.
It will take you about 290 gallons of water to grow enough conventional, high-yield cotton to produce a t-shirt, according to Cotton Inc. To grow the same amount of organic cotton for a t-shirt, however, requires about 660 gallons of water. The disparity is similar for a pair of jeans.