What's with Cotton?
In addition to being one of the most widely grown crops in the world, ‘conventional cotton' is also one of the most water and chemical intensive. The crop and the entire process of growing ‘conventional cotton' is laden with stigmas and rightly so, as fast fashion and consumer buying patterns have added tremendous pressure for quick and abundant supply. The chemicals used have an extremely detrimental effect on the planet's air, water, soil and health of the people involved in the process. Hundreds and thousands of cases have been reported on farmers succumbing to diseases directly attributed to these chemicals.
An Ethical Alternative
To counter the issues faced in growing conventional cotton, one of alterfab's aims is to spread the awareness of GOTS certified cotton. This is Organic Cotton that is not only grown organically, i.e. without the use of harmful chemicals but also covers the process of converting cotton to a finished product in the most social and ecological way. As described by GOTS, "The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain."
Look out for the GOTS Logo!
For a product to be certified by GOTS:
- 95% of the raw materials/fibers used have to be organically grown
- Farmers and their farms have to be certified in order to ascertain the traceability of the cotton
- Seeds used to grow the Crop must be Natural, untreated and GMO free
- Crop rotation is a must to ensure the health of the soil and retention of moisture from increased organic matter
- Water Consumption has to be cut by more than 50% during the growing and harvesting periods
- Raw materials have to be converted from yarn to fabric and subsequent processing in certified facilities
- Constant monitoring of electricity and water used during the process from Cotton to Label
- Processing and manufacturing is monitored to ensure all dyes/process chemicals meet the requirements on toxicity and biodegradability
- Printing must be carried out with Low-impact, water-based inks or pigments with no heavy metals
- Manufacturing unit must adhere to highest standards of worker safety
- Clean and Hygienic working conditions for all workers including stitching and packing units
- No Child labour, no discrimination and no excessive working hours
Every stage in the supply chain is independently audited for Ethical Business Practices and quality assurances. Once a company meets all these standards set forth by GOTS, it will be issued a GOTS certification and only then can the final product carry the GOTS label.