Buying organic is Green Living 101, right? Since conventional cotton production uses an estimated 25% of the world's chemical fertilizers and pesticides, it's been the metric by which a textile's eco-friendliness is measured. But a recent article in The New York Times on the decline of organic denim made the point that companies are moving beyond organic cotton as the be-all-end-all and considering the product's entire manufacturing process, its social as well as environmental implications, including water use, dye impact, soil health, labor issues, fair trade, and the reduction of scraps and other waste.
One non-profit mentioned in the article, Better Cotton Initiative, is focused on sustainable-agriculture techniques, water use and economic and labor issues, and the initiative's cotton farms in India and Pakistan have reduced chemical use and water consumption by a third.
The idea behind this is to address a range of problems, and encourage more companies and consumers to take sustainable steps.
(Image: InStyle Contract Textiles)