What is organic cotton, certified organic farming (kbA) and GOTS?
Properties of cotton and why is it so popular?
Cotton is a natural fiber that is kind to the skin and has properties that make it ideal for our lingerie and therefore so popular. Fabrics made of cotton are very supple and feel pleasant, natural and soft on the skin. It is also absorbent, breathable and regulates moisture. Cotton provides excellent hygiene and has a low allergy potential, even for sensitive skin. It is also durable, hard-wearing and very easy to care for.
Just 1 % of the cotton traded worldwide is grown organically. Organic cotton mostly comes from small farmers who benefit in many ways. On the one hand, there are the health benefits and the preservation or promotion of livelihoods, but also the financial advantage, as organic cotton fetches a higher price on the world market. Textiles made from organic cotton have a higher quality due to their gentle processing. The fabric is softer and more tear-resistant compared to conventional cotton
What is organic cotton?
The terms „organic", „eco" or „from certified organic farming (kbA)" are protected for the agricultural raw material cotton, as they are for food. They may only be awarded if the guidelines of organic farming are complied with (EC Basic Regulation on Organic Agriculture 834/2007 08). This is checked on site at least once a year by an independent certification body. The farms must disclose their production methods and flow of goods. In Asia, Africa and Latin America, communities of small farmers are widespread. Here, an internal control system between the smallholders also ensures consistent compliance with the standards.
Internationally, „organic" is used for the German term „Bio". In the cultivation of organic cotton, the use of pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilizers is avoided. Genetic engineering is completely prohibited. In order to protect the soil, the crop rotation is also varied. Environmentally harmful methods that are common in conventional cotton cultivation are prohibited. Toxic pesticides and defoliants, which are extremely problematic for the health of the farmers and for nature, are also avoided.
By avoiding toxic defoliants, which are mainly necessary for the preparation of mechanical harvesting, only hand harvesting is possible, which in turn has a positive effect on the quality of the organic cotton. Therefore there is less contamination and the environment is protected.
Instead of leaching the soil and keeping it productive with artificial fertilizers as in conventional farming, organic farming maintains or builds up the humus layer with a closed nutrient cycle. To this end, attention is paid to a varied crop rotation that is gentle on the soil. Cotton is grown in rotation with other crops. This helps to care for the soil and prevents the proliferation of pests and diseases. Simultaneous sowing of other crops also avoids unnecessary use of sprays. In West Africa, for example, sunflowers are planted around the cotton fields. These attract pests such as the boll weevil and thus prevent infestation of the cotton plants. Organic fertilizers are used to maintain and improve the natural fertility of the soil, e.g. manure and compost are used.
The soil can now store more water and CO² due to the increased humus content. This means that far less water is needed than in conventional cultivation.
Does organic cotton also means fair cotton?
The organic certificate does not contain any social standards of its own. The legal minimum standards apply. But especially for small farmers in poorer countries, organic farming has a positive effect on their living conditions. They do not come into contact with harmful sprays. Instead of spending a lot of money on chemical fertilizers, they bring their own manure and compost to the fields. They usually get much better prices for their organic produce. In addition, the prescribed crop rotation offers small farmers the chance to grow other organic products to feed their own families and for marketing, thus making them less dependent on cotton.
With the purchase of a single T-shirt made of organic cotton, one saves about seven square meters of cultivated land from pesticides and artificial fertilizers.
Is underwear made of organic cotton organic underwear?
No, this only guarantees the organic cultivation of the fiber. It says nothing about the further processing up to the finished garment. If you want to be sure that the cotton fabrics and the garment are fairly produced and free of dangerous chemicals such as azo dyes, solvents and heavy metals, you have to look for more far-reaching textile seals.
Our "Fancy Organic Cotton Collection" is GOTS certified!
Fancy Organic Cotton collection
What does GOTS stand for?
- GOTS stands for the sustainable processing of organic cotton -
„Organic", „eco" or „from certified organic farming (kbA)" says nothing about the further processing. This is what the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is for. It contains guidelines for sustainable and environmentally friendly processing. Harmful chemicals and toxic dyes are strictly prohibited and minimum social requirements are regulated. This means that the organic cotton is also processed sustainably. The cotton fabrics of our "Fancy Organic Cotton Collection" are spun and dyed in Germany under the GOTS guidelines.
GOTS - more than organic!
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the world's leading standard for the processing of textiles made from organically produced natural fibers. Along the entire production chain, high environmental requirements are defined and compliance with social criteria is demanded. The GOTS label is intended to reassure the consumer that the product has been produced in an ecologically sustainable manner. Starting with organic raw material extraction, through environmentally friendly and socially responsible production, to a finished product that is free of hazardous chemicals and toxic dyes.
Ecological criteria of GOTS
A prerequisite for GOTS certification is that the product consists of at least 70 % organically produced natural fiber. Only from 95 % organic cotton the label "GOTS organic" is awarded. Only raw materials that have been produced according to recognized international or national organic cultivation standards (EU Organic Regulation (Regulation EC No. 834/2007), USDA NOP or IFOAM Family of Standards) are allowed.
Only indispensable additives that meet certain toxicity and biodegradability requirements are allowed for processing the textiles. No harmful chemical additives are allowed. Chlorine bleach, toxic or corrosive dyes are completely prohibited.
The producing companies must also have an environmental protection program to reduce waste water and toxic waste. The packaging of GOTS textiles must not contain PVC, and paper labels must be recycled or obtain from FSC or PEFC sources.
More information about the GOTS quality label
GOTS social criteria
GOTS also defines social criteria that protect workers in production facilities. These include among others:
- A safe and hygienic working environment
- Forced labor and child labor are strictly prohibited
- A living minimum wage
- Regular working hours
- Discriminatory and inhumane treatment are prohibited
- The right to freedom of an association and collective bargaining
Are organic textiles sustainable?
Textiles made from „organic", „eco" or „certified organically grown cotton (kbA)" are sustainable. Cotton is durable and biodegradable. Certified organic farming (kbA) avoids serious environmental impacts in the cultivation of cotton, and GOTS-certified textiles are also processed in an environmentally friendly way.
Organic cotton and GOTS can make a big difference in terms of textile sustainability.