So what exactly is GOTS certified cotton? Here’s everything you need to know.
“Organic cotton drives meaningful change in the textile industry to address the interconnected climate, biodiversity, soil, and water crises we face. Organic cotton comes from a farming system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems, and people, by relying on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions.” – Textile Exchange
All of our organic cotton is GOTS certified, ensuring a responsible process right through the supply chain from seed to garment. We’ve spoken about the benefits of organic cotton a lot (refer to our fabrics and dyes page for more info) and it’s why we’ve always made sure that we use organic cotton to make our Yaks. Organic cotton has always come at a higher price tag, but to us it has been a small price to pay to ensure responsible practices are carried out throughout the supply chain.
One of the main reasons we also choose to use only GOTS certified organic cotton is due to the traceability benefits. Without this traceability, we would have no way of knowing for sure where the cotton has come from. If cotton has no traceability, then there is no guarantee of fair practices in the supply chain and there is no guarantee that it is actually organic.
In June, we wrote about the demand for organic cotton being on the up (good news!) as the fashion industry looks to improve its sustainability credentials. This, along with other factors, such as the impact of climate change affecting the world’s largest cotton growing regions, is affecting the amount of organic cotton available. At the moment, demand for organic cotton is far outstripping supply.
Lucy & Yak remain absolutely committed to not compromising on the quality of our products and our sustainable practices. But in order to do this, we needed to increase the price across all of our products.
We always want to be as transparent as possible with the Yak community and, with this in mind, we have explained further why using organic cotton is more expensive than normal, conventional cotton.
Harvesting costs / at farm level
Unlike conventional cotton, organic cotton is grown without the use of any synthetic or chemical-based products i.e. synthetic fertilisers or pesticides. This means that farmers need to take care of any weeds or insects without using harmful chemicals. This is a longer and more skilled process.
Organic cotton is normally harvested by hand, not by machine. This is also more labour intensive and takes more time and money.
Organically grown cotton produces less yield than conventionally grown cotton and requires the maintenance of healthy soil to sustain growth. Less yield means there is less organic cotton available than conventional cotton which drives up the price.
Manufacturing costs / at supplier level
GOTS certified organic cotton uses non-toxic dyes or natural dyes that are more expensive than dyes used with conventional cotton.
Organic cotton must be kept separate from conventional cotton throughout the manufacturing (and transportation) process. This includes processes such as ginning and cleaning the organic cotton, where the cost is much higher than the conventional cotton because of the smaller quantities involved.
Manufacturing processes on the whole are increasing. The rise in energy costs, labour costs and fuel/transportation mean that suppliers require a higher price for their goods.
Certification costs / all supply chain
Our GOTS certified products come from suppliers who are also GOTS certified.
Testing for compliance and certification by GOTS is an expensive process. As well as the environmental requirements, working conditions and labour standards are assessed and verified throughout.
GOTS certification needs to be renewed every year by all parties involved in the production process.
We hope this helps to explain why we have had to increase our prices, and we continue to thank you for all your support!