WHAT’S NEW

Congratulations patagonia for 20 years of organic cotton!
Read how a brave decision in 1996 transformed a company and showed the rest of us what’s possible .

COMING SOON!!

✪ Social media linkages.

✪ How Organic Cotton achieves the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

✪ Organic Cotton and Water Infographics.

✪ Organic Cotton Presentation (Teaching aid for children).

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At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Here we explain how organic cotton farming plays a role in helping countries achieve their SDGs. Millions of people around the world live in rural communities depending on farming. Holistic organic farming systems based on the organic principles of health, ecology, fairness and care, build thriving and resilient communities that attract people to stay on the land rather than move to cities, regenerating and nurturing the earth, its resources, and its people.

The UNDP has identified three priority SDGs – 1: End Poverty, 10: Reduced Inequalities, 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, as central to its strategic plan. Organic cotton makes a significant contribution to all three – providing a market-driven solution to poverty, reducing inequality by raising farm incomes, and promoting inclusive societies through its reliance on cooperative working. Organic “cotton” is the vehicle to organic “communities” and success depends upon SDG 17: Partnership for the Goals, building committed, interdependent supply networks that share risk and reward.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SDGS

HOW ORGANIC COTTON SUPPORTS
THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS

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SDG1: END POVERTY IN ALL ITS FORMS EVERYWHERE


Organic cotton is a market-driven solution to poverty. 
Farmers can earn more, spend less on inputs such as agrichemicals, and decouple from the commodity market
. Intercrops and rotational crops, such as legumes, grains, vegetables, fruits and flowers, play a key role in livelihood options by shifting farmers to more diverse incomes and reducing reliance on a monocrop commodity culture.

SDG2: END HUNGER, ACHIEVE FOOD SECURITY AND IMPROVED NUTRITION AND PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE


Organic cotton is grown alongside and in rotation with food crops.
 
Seed can be saved and sold locally, reducing reliance on seed companies and providing additional incomes. Cotton harvests also produce cottonseed, processed into oil or animal feed. The demand for non-GMO cottonseed is growing rapidly. Improved incomes enable livestock rearing, diversifying diets and providing valuable farmyard manure.

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SDG3: ENSURE HEALTHY LIVES AND PROMOTE WELL-BEING FOR ALL AT ALL AGES


Organic cotton farmers and their families are not exposed to toxic chemicals. 
Nutritional needs are met through the production of food crops such as grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits, grown in rotation with cotton or intercropped. Many organic cotton-growing communities are able to offer at least primary health care locally with health centers funded in part by fairer prices to the farmers and supply chain partnerships.

SDG4: ENSURE INCLUSIVE AND EQUITABLE QUALITY EDUCATION AND PROMOTE LIFE-LONG LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL


Higher returns result in organic cotton farming communities being able to offer quality education, often through the investments of supply chain partners. 
Women’s organic cotton cooperatives and farmers are earning their own income, which they tend to prioritize in schooling.  Organic farming offers lifelong learning opportunities – and jobs – in both organic food and fiber, and value-add opportunities such as tailoring and the textiles sector.

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SDG5: ACHIEVE GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWER ALL WOMEN AND GIRLS


Many organic cotton farmers are women, particularly in African and Asian countries.  Approximately 10% of certified organic farmers globally are women. 
In progressive producer groups, women are in leadership positions such as providing training and maintaining organic farm records, and are even land owners. Other opportunities include producing bio inputs to sell, running micro-businesses producing seed, and value-addition such as food processing and textile handicrafts.

SDG6: ENSURE AVAILABILITY AND SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF WATER AND SANITATION FOR ALL


As organic cotton does not use toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, it does not cause chemical contamination of local water sources. 
Organic soil is more able to retain water, increasing water efficiency.  While not exclusive to organic, “rainwater harvesting” helps solve potable and non-potable water needs such as irrigation, hygiene, and even consumption challenges.

SDG7: ENSURE ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE, RELIABLE, SUSTAINABLE AND MODERN ENERGY FOR ALL


Organic farming communities are increasingly using solar and biogas as an energy source, particularly where access to electricity is limited, such as in some regions of Africa and India. 
In Tanzania, smokeless ovens are being incorporated into the Swiss Coop and Remei AG farm investment program, resulting in healthier cooking environments and helping the company become carbon neutral.

SDG8: PROMOTE SUSTAINED, INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH, FULL AND PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYMENT AND DECENT WORK FOR ALL


Globally, approximately 200,000 people are certified to organic cotton standards, mostly smallholder farmers. Many more are farming to organic or agro-ecological criteria. 
Principles of health, ecology, fairness and care are the basis of organic agriculture. Breach of human rights is prohibited. Many organic farmers, particularly in Africa and India, are also certified to Fair Trade standards, allowing them to benefit from additional social and trading guidelines.

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SDG9: BUILD RESILIENT INFRASTRUCTURE, PROMOTE INCLUSIVE AND SUSTAINABLE INDUSTRIALIZATION AND FOSTER INNOVATION


Organic cotton production is the basis for the new global textile infrastructure – sustainable, ethical, transparent, and verified.
 
Organic cotton is increasingly not only grown but also made into textiles in dedicated, committed supply networks – thus reducing risk for farmers and providing the infrastructure for a resilient, interdependent and innovative industry that can compete globally.

SDG10: REDUCE INEQUALITY WITHIN AND AMONG COUNTRIES


Organic cotton production has put nations rich and poor on par with one another. China, India, Tanzania, Turkey, and the USA are the top 5 growing nations. 
Higher financial returns help raise the local income, empowering farmers and elevating  them into positions of leadership and governance within rural communities. In some communities, organic is viewed as a “female’s crop”, giving women the opportunity to organize and make decisions away from competition with men.

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SDG11: MAKE CITIES AND HUMAN SETTLEMENTS INCLUSIVE, SAFE, RESILIENT AND SUSTAINABLE 


Higher financial returns, absence of toxic chemicals (and illness), alongside the satisfaction of working in harmony with nature, encourage more people to stay on the land, with evidence of reverse migration in parts of India. 
Increased value placed on organic farming empowers small-scale farmers to take more pride and responsibility for local development, and results in autonomous, resilient rural communities with reduced dependency on donor funding.

SDG12: ENSURE SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION PATTERNS


Organic “life choices”, whether at the farm, the factory, in retail or in the home, promote healthy choices for all. 
Organic food, always grown in rotation or intercropped with organic cotton, ensures safe, chemical-free consumption. There is evidence of local staple food varieties being preserved through organic systems. Organic cotton itself also produces food – cottonseed oil – used in a wide range of organic foods.

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SDG13: TAKE URGENT ACTION TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS IMPACTS


Organic soils sequester more carbon as a key component in soil building and improved soil fertility. 
Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer – known to result in the release of ozone destroying nitrous oxide – is prohibited for use in organic agriculture. Crop diversification helps reduce risk and protects farmers’ livelihoods in times of climate change, providing some protection against the impacts of flooding or drought.

SDG14: CONSERVE AND SUSTAINABLY USE THE OCEANS, SEAS AND MARINE RESOURCES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT


By eliminating toxic and persistent pesticides, organic cotton production is a proactive contributor to clean and healthy water used locally, and which ultimately runs into the oceans.
 
Likewise, the elimination of artificial fertilizers (nitrates and phosphates) from organic farming reduces the nutrient load and run-off into surface waterways.

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SDG15: PROTECT, RESTORE AND PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE USE OF TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS, SUSTAINABLY MANAGE FORESTS, COMBAT DESERTIFICATION, AND HALT AND REVERSE LAND DEGRADATION AND HALT BIODIVERSITY LOSS


Organic cotton farms build strong soils and biodiversity by rotating crops, minimizing tillage, and planting cover crops. 
As toxic chemicals are not used in organic farming, these farms and neighbouring wild areas become a safe haven for a diverse array of plants and animals to thrive in.  Clearing of primary ecosystems is prohibited, and strict standards address organic forest and grazing land management.

SDG16: PROMOTE PEACEFUL AND INCLUSIVE SOCIETIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, PROVIDE ACCESS TO JUSTICE FOR ALL AND BUILD EFFECTIVE, ACCOUNTABLE AND INCLUSIVE INSTITUTIONS AT ALL LEVELS


Many organic cotton farming operations are cooperatives, respecting democracy, interdependency, stability, human rights and effective governance. 
Organic cotton projects are farmer-centric, respectful of gender, and promote local leadership to strengthen the participation of communities, and countries, in national governance and international partnerships.

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SDG17: STRENGTHEN THE MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION AND REVITALIZE THE GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT


A fundamental element of organic cotton production is its strong commitment to global partnerships and cooperation – recognizing the interdependencies at play. 
Organic cotton production promotes international trade, helping developing countries increase export of high value cash crops, while fostering local markets for fresh food provision. Organic helps further an equitable trading system that is fair, open and benefits all.