India, Turkey, Egypt, China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, USA, Brazil
Cotton is one of the most common and most used fabrics globally. The natural cellulose fibre comes from the white boll of the plant. It is light and breathable which makes it a popular wardrobe staple. However, growing cotton is problematic, as it is one of the thirstiest and most chemical-invasive crops to grow. It requires a lot of pesticides, therefore has a negative impact on the environment and those that grow it as a result. Organic cotton is a more sustainable alternative. It aims to minimise the environmental impact during production process by removing as many harmful pesticides and other chemicals as possible. The only drawback to organic cotton is that can use more water to grow than conventional cotton. GOTS-certified cotton ensures high standards in production.
Recycled cotton is proven to be even more environmentally friendly than organic cotton. It is made using post-industrial and post-consumer cotton waste. It has the potential to help reduce water and energy consumption, as well as keep cotton clothes out of landfill – hence why it is considered one of the most sustainable fibres on the market.
Learn more about cotton from the Cotton Trade Association here
Learn more about Genetically Modified cotton and it's consequences here
It is also worth being aware that recent reports state that 85% of China's conventional cotton can now be traced to forced labour detention camps of Uighur and other minority peoples. This accounts for one fifth of cottons global supply chain. Buying fully traceable organic cotton ensures that you are not supporting illegal working conditions of others.
Read more cotton in China here