‘Eat organic’, ‘only buy fair trade’, ‘reduce your carbon footprint’, ‘floss daily’ – and now we have to think about what we’re wearing as well? Yes. Well, no, but ethically, yes.
Take the harmless T-shirt. Wash & wear, wash & wear and then finally, after years of loyalty, your tee makes it’s way to your local charity bin or becomes your new car wash rag. Seems harmless.
What’s this new hype about organic cotton, then? Well, it’s what happens at grassroots when the cotton isn’t organic, that’s where the difference lies.
A few statistics to consider;
- Conventionally grown cotton accounts for more than 25% of worldwide insecticide use and 10% of the pesticides. Pesticides used in cotton production are among the most hazardous available.
- Millions of children receive up to 35% of their estimated lifetime dose of some carcinogenic pesticides by the age of five through food, contaminated drinking water, household use and pesticide drift.
- It can take up to 500 grams of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to conventionally grow the 1.5kgs of cotton needed to make a T-shirt and a pair of jeans.
- Pesticides used on cotton cause acute poisonings and chronic illness to farm workers worldwide. Acute respiratory symptoms and other health effects in communities surrounding cotton farms are linked to high use of defoliation chemicals.
So buying organic cotton isn’t necessarily about what you’re wearing, although we’ve certainly found that it’s softer, more durable and longer lasting; it’s about what you’re supporting by buying non-organic cotton. It’s about broadening our vision to the entire supply chain, rather than simply looking on the clothing rack in our local shops.
Some businesses have made the conscious decision and commitment to be ecological; to be gentle and respectful of our planet. The team at Saltmotion have made this commitment and offer an organic T-shirt range that is also Carbon Neutral as well as “Fair Wear”.
They’re carbon neutral by the way of using renewable energy and low impact farming techniques and Fair Wear Foundation is the Fair Trade body that regulates the clothing industry to ensure that working conditions are safe and free of pesticides, exclude child labour, excessive working hours and unhygienic working conditions.
Demands to manufacture increasing quantities of cheap textiles has lead the clothing industry to allow some of the most unethical trade practices on the planet.
To ensure that Saltmotion does not contribute to the social injustice seen in the textile industry, commonly known as sweatshop labour, they support only Fair Wear Foundation textiles which have made transparent their manufacturing supply chain with independent audits by the non-profit organisation.
There’s a lot going on, at any one moment, in the world, in our heads, in our lives and I appreciate that you simply cannot take everything on. For the most part, though, we do what we can and open our eyes, little by little to those situations that present themselves to us in bight-sized chunks. That’s what this article is. It’s a little, bight-sized, eye opener and something to consider when you’re doing your Christmas shopping this year.
For more information on Fair Wear Foundation go to fairwear.org
For the Saltmotion Apparel range go to www.joelcoleman.com/saltmotion-apparel