Why Organic Cotton? – Kajal New York

Why Organic Cotton?

Organic Cotton is produced & certified to organic standards. In collaboration with PYRATEX fabrics, many of our styles are made from GOTS certified organic cotton.

The production process sustains Soil health, Eco-system preservation, Wildlife health, & the Well-being of people.

Organic cotton does this by using natural processes rather than artificial inputs. Most importantly, organic cotton farming does not allow the use of toxic chemicals or GMOs (genetically modified organisms). Instead, it combines traditional, innovation, and science to benefit the shared environment and promote a good quality of life for all involved.

The main benefit of organic cotton is that organic cotton is not treated with pesticides, insecticides, and GMOs. Pesticides are harmful to farmers, workers, consumers, and our entire eco-systems. A standout effort in the organic cotton movement is to use growing systems that replenish and maintain soil fertility and build biologically diverse agriculture.

Research shows that conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other crop in the world. It is reported that each year cotton producers use as much as 25% of the world's insecticides and more than 10 percent of the world’s pesticides. These harmful chemicals can be deadly, as pesticides can poison farmers all over the world. Factory workers too, have to breathe in their fumes during the manufacturing process. These harmful chemicals also soak into run-off water after heavy rains, ultimately poisoning the ocean, lakes, rivers, and waterways. Various reports show that pesticide and herbicide residue has also been increasingly discovered in food and produce.

  • Organic cotton promotes safe work & better livelihoods

Growing organic cotton keeps farmers’ and their families’ safety. They are not exposed to toxic chemicals in the field or through their food and water supply. It also means farmers grow more than one crop which supplements their food and income.

  • Organic cotton reduces the environmental footprint

No toxic chemicals are used in the growing of organic cotton. It doesn’t damage the soil, has less impact on the air, and uses 71% less water and 62% less energy.

  • Organic cotton impacts our food system

Cotton seed oil is used in a variety of food products such as cookies, chips and vegetable oil, and is also fed to livestock. While cotton fiber is not something we put inside our body, the by-product can make its way into our diets.

  • Model for the future

By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages. Organic cotton is 80% rain-fed, which reduces pressure on local water sources. The absence of chemicals also means that the water used is cleaner and safer. Conventional cotton is often grown in water-scarce areas using irrigation, leading to water shortages. It takes an astounding 713 gallons of water to make a conventional cotton t-shirt. In 2015, approximately 28.5 million tons of cotton was produced globally, the majority of it for the apparel industry. Organic cotton makes up less than 1% of this. Harness your purchasing power and create waves in the organic cotton industry.

When you purchase organic cotton products you are investing in water conservation, cleaner air, better soil, and farmer livelihoods in addition to social and economic benefits. Using products made with organic fabrics has a major positive impact on your health and the health of our planet.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

In collaboration with PYRATEX, all of the fabrics follow Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) guidelines.

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification is a stringent voluntary global standard for the entire post-harvest processing such as spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing, manufacturing of apparel and home textiles made with organic fiber. The standard prohibits the use of toxic chemicals during the processing stages and includes strong labor provisions as well a prohibition of child labor. GOTS covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labeling, trading, and distribution of products sold as GOTS certified. 

When you purchase a GOTS Certified product, it means that the product has met strict environmental and social criteria during its entire supply chain. Here are some of the requirements of GOTS certification:

Fiber Production

  • Organic certification of fibers on basis of recognized international or national standards (IFOAM family of standards, EEC 834/2007, USDA NOP)

  • Certification of fibers from conversion period is possible if the applicable farming standard permits such certification

  • A textile product carrying the GOTS label grade ‘organic’ must contain a minimum of 95% certified organic fibers whereas a product with the label grade ‘made with organic’ must contain a minimum of 70% certified organic fibers.                     

Environmental Criteria

  • At all stages through the processing organic fiber products must be separated from conventional fiber products and must be clearly identified

  • All chemical inputs (e.g. dyes, auxiliaries and process chemicals) must be evaluated and meet basic requirements on toxicity and biodegradability/eliminability

  • Prohibition of critical inputs such as toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, functional nano particles, genetically modified organisms (GMO) and their enzymes

  • The use of synthetic sizing agents is restricted; knitting and weaving oils must not contain heavy metals

  • Bleaches must be based on oxygen (no chlorine bleaching)

  • Azo dyes that release carcinogenic amine compounds are prohibited

  • Discharge printing methods using aromatic solvents and plastisol printing methods using phthalates and PVC are prohibited

  • Restrictions for accessories (e.g. no PVC, nickel or chrome permitted)

  • All operators must have an environmental policy including target goals and procedures to minimize waste and discharges

  • Wet processing units must keep full records of the use of chemicals, energy, water consumption and waste water treatment, including the disposal of sludge. The waste water from all wet processing units must be treated in a functional waste water treatment plant.

  • Packaging material must not contain PVC. Paper or cardboard used in packaging material, hang tags, swing tags etc. must be recycled or certified according to FSC or PEFC

Technical Quality and Human Toxicity Criteria

  • Technical quality parameters must be met (such as rubbing, perspiration, light and washing fastness and shrinkage values)

  • Raw materials, intermediates, final textile products as well as accessories must meet stringent limits regarding unwanted residues

Social Criteria

Social criteria based on the key norms of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) must be met by all processors and manufacturers. They must have a social compliance management with defined elements in place to ensure that the social criteria can be met. 

  • Employment is freely chosen
    C29 - Forced Labour Convention
    C105 - Abolition of Forced Labour Convention

  • Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
    C87 - Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention
    C98 - Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention
    C135 - Workers' Representatives Convention
    C154 - Collective Bargaining Convention

  • Working conditions are safe and hygienic
    C155 - Occupational Safety and Health Convention

  • Child labour must not be used
    C138 - Minimum Age Convention
    C182 - Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention

  • Living wages
    C95 - Protection of Wages Convention
    C131 - Minimum Wage Fixing Convention

  • Working hours are not excessive
    C1 - Hours of Work (Industry) Convention
    C14 - Weekly Rest (Industry) Convention
    C30 - Hours of Work (Commerce and Offices) Convention
    C106 - Weekly Rest (Commerce and Offices) Convention

  • No discrimination is practiced
    C100 - Equal Remuneration Convention
    C111 - Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention

  • Regular employment is provided
    C158: Termination of Employment Convention
    C175: Part-time Work Convention
    C177: Homework Convention
    C181 Private Employment Agencies Convention

  • Harsh or inhumane treatment is prohibited
    C29 - Forced Labour Convention
    C105 - Abolition of Forced Labour Convention

Certification of the entire textile supply chain

  • Fiber producers (farmers) must be certified according to a recognized international or national organic farming standard that is accepted in the country where the final product will be sold

  • Certifiers of fiber producers must be internationally recognized according to ISO 65 and/or IFOAM accreditation. They also must be accredited to certify according to the applicable fiber standard

  • Operators from post-harvest handling up to garment making and traders have to undergo an annual on-site inspection cycle and must hold a valid GOTS operational certificate applicable for the production / trade of the textiles to be certified

  • Certifiers of processors, manufacturers and traders must be internationally accredited according to ISO 65 and must hold a ‘GOTS accreditation’ in accordance with the rules as defined in the ‘Approval Procedure and Requirements for Certification Bodies’