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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
08 oktober 2005

Dutch organic cotton: fashionable and profitable

Cotton - it has such a natural flavour. Unfortunately, this image is false. Too much water, pesticides, and chemicals for bleaching and dyeing are involved to wear it with a comfortable conscience. Pressured by consumers and the media, the Dutch textile and fashion industry is increasingly interested in applying organic cotton. Apart from vanguards like Kuyichi, mainstream brands like Hema, Hunkemöller and Sissy Boy will attend the meeting on October 18. Mariëlle Beerling, ICCO-spokeswoman: "Some seventy percent of the participants are from the Dutch clothing industry. This shows that organic cotton is absolutely becoming a important trend. The textile branch increasingly discovers the two-sided profit of corporate social responsibility. And we can facilitate this trend by introducing retailers and manufacturers to our networks of organic cotton producers in Asia, Africa and Latin America." With international partners ICCO strives to increase the global market share of organic cotton from the present 0,7 % to 10% in 2013. But even if cotton is organic - grown without exploiting labour and without using harmful chemicals - it still is a product that lays a heavy burden on the ecological system, since growing it requires large quantities of water. "True," says Jeroen Klomp, ICCO's coordinator Cotton Program, "there are some small plots of rain fed cotton fields, but the bulk is irrigated. That is why last year the World Wildlife Fund and ICCO have initiated the so-called 'better cotton process'. Together with industries, producers, NGOs and researchers we are developing standards for responsible water use in the cotton production. However, we want the industries to take their share in the implementation of measures to reduce water, since cotton farmers are not able to make these investments alone." P+ Webtip: ICCO on cotton