Less than 1 per cent of the world’s cotton production is organic, while Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) has grown to around 12 per cent of global cotton production over the years. Most of the Indian apparel exporters believes that despite lot of challenges, demand of organic clothing will increase gradually. At the same time international brands are also focusing more on sustainable clothing.
On all these issues, Apparel Resources talked to Claudia Kersten, Director, Marketing and Finance – GOTS, and Sumit Gupta, Deputy Director, Standards Development & Quality Assurance and Representative in India and Bangladesh… It may be mentioned here that GOTS is recognized as the world’s leading processing standard for textiles made from organic fibres. In India, there are more than 800 GOTS-certified companies across the textile supply chain.
The two are of the view that organic cotton has shown stable growth over the last decade and shall continue to grow in future as well. Being the most sustainable option within the sustainable cotton options, going organic certainly needs much efforts. It also needs a long-term commitment from buyers and suppliers alike as three years’ conversion period is there before you can sell your products as organic. Enough brands have constantly been supporting GOTS and organic cotton and there is tremendous scope for growth in organic cotton sector.
With regards to correlation/conflict between organic cotton/BCI, they refuse to comment particularly about BCI and added, “We are aware that due to limited availability of the much sought after organic cotton, brands are adding other options to their portfolio in order to meet their 2020 sustainable sourcing goals. Finally, the consumers and retailers have to decide on what they want to buy and sell.”
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When Apparel Resources asked: Are brands/retailers doing their best to promote sustainable clothing to their customer base? Claudia and Sumit replied that this is a very subjective question and you can never tell ‘how much is enough?’ Multiple awareness and marketing campaigns are being run across the world, including those from retailers, NGOs, Governments, media, bloggers and so on. Consumer awareness and willingness to pay more for organic products is also being reported by consumer surveys. But, given the size of global textile market and global consumer base, there shall always be scope to do more for promoting organic textiles.
For more detailed interview, please read the upcoming issue (May 1–15) of Apparel Online India Magazine.