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Denim, velvet, flannel, jersey, percale... Cotton is used in a wide variety of fabrics. It makes up about 21% of the world's textile consumption. We know about its versatility... and also about its environmental impact.

Facts and Figures About Conventional Cotton

It's estimated that you need about 2,700 litres of water to make a T-shirt out of conventional cotton and about 6,800 litres for a pair of jeans.1

Growing conventional cotton requires 7% of the pesticides and insecticides used worldwide, chemical inputs that pollute ecosystems.

What Is Organic Cotton?

Grown according to agricultural standards that ban the use of genetically modified seeds and minimize the use of harmful pesticides and chemical fertilizers, organic cotton has many advantages when compared to conventional cotton:

- It improves the condition of the soil
- It results in better water quality and local biodiversity
- It significantly reduces the depletion of resources like water

Organic farming helps to protect the planet and people's health by reducing the exposure of produce to toxic chemicals, which can work their way into the air, water, and even our food chain.
As it uses no harmful chemicals, growing organic cotton is therefore beneficial to the health of the communities that live near these fields and farms, as well as for consumers.

This type of farming promotes crop rotation, the use of cover crops, and intercropping in order to keep the soil rich in nutrients. These practices also help to reduce the potential for soil erosion by up to 26% compared to conventional farming methods. In addition to contributing to the development of more fertile land, these different agricultural approaches allow for more than one crop to grow together. Not only does this diversify farmers' revenues, but it also gives them better financial security.

Organic cotton flowers

Another significant advantage is that organic farming techniques use natural fertilizers, like compost, which recycle the nitrogen that's already present in the soil, rather than adding more. These methods also help trap larger quantities of carbon than conventional farming, which drastically reduces GHG emissions. This farming favours using natural predators and techniques rather than harmful pesticides to keep away unwanted insects and microorganisms.

The biodiversity of the soil of organic farming builds over time thanks to organic fertilizer and crop rotation.2 The soil becomes rich in organic material, allowing it to retain more water, and thereby reducing the use of blue water3 by 91% compared to conventional cotton farming.

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3 Blue water is water retrieved from underground and surface sources, due to irrigation for example. This term includes all sources of fresh water except rainwater.
4 These results were calculated with the help of the Higg Materials Sustainability Index (Higg MSI) developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC). The Higg MSI analyzes the impact of materials over their entire life cycle (up until the materials are ready to be assembled into a product). The Higg MSI scores or the calculations of percentages provided here represent only one production step within the scope of the Higg MSI (for example, fibres or raw materials). They do not provide an overall view of the impacts involved in the production of materials. The SAC does not verify the results of users' custom materials. (Higg Materials Sustainability Index, 2020)