In an age of ever changing fashions, disposable is the key. Making things cheaply to keep customers in the latest trends is so popular, but at what cost to the
environment and the people making it?
People rarely stop to think about the consequences of buying clothing that may not be
from an ethical source. Cotton, in particular, is seen as a ‘dirty’ crop due to
how many insecticides are used on it and how poorly treated cotton workers are.
Organic cotton, on the other hand, has no pesticides whatsoever used on it making it better for the environment, but also preventing cotton workers from getting skin
irritations and other health problems associated with chemicals. Not only this,
but cotton is stronger when it is naturally produced as chemicals damage it and
make it less durable.
A lot of high street shops do not use ethically sourced cotton, however, most t-shirt printing companies do. Growing cotton organically allows more revenue to go to the farmer as they are not wasting money on fertilisers. Thankfully, ethical consumerism has taken off and people can’t get enough of Organic or Fairtrade products.
Organic products allow soil fertility to be maintained or improved and prevent severe
pest infestation. Because the pesticides used are natural, there is no risk to
groundwater or rivers. As well as this, farmers and their families are protected from harmful chemicals.
There is a higher demand for Organic cotton as people are constantly searching for high quality cotton produced under strict guidelines that allow farmers and workers to gain financially. Those involved in the production of Organic cotton are schooled in
the best practises and receive logistical and technical support from Organic organisations.
Many Organic cotton farmers are women as there are no chemicals that could harm them or their fertility. This enables them the financial freedom and independence they
so crave and makes it a less sexist industry to work in.
Fairtrade is a strategy whereby producers and workers who have been economically
disadvantaged or marginalised by the trading system can gain access to help
that will allow them to overcome these barriers. The Fairtrade mark is a
registered label for products that come from farmers/workers in developing
Colonial crops such as cotton, as well as coffee and cocoa, are the main sources of
income in the Third World. Cotton, in particular, is the most widespread
vegetal textile in the world which is why its production HAS to be as ethical
To date more than 500,000 people in developing countries have benefitted from the Fairtrade cotton industry. Most of the existing producer groups are increasing their
membership each year and this is only set to increase.