rainfed organic cotton

0 LITERS OF FRESHWATER

Selection between organic or conventional cotton is not a crucial factor in the total environmental impact of a cotton garment. Water footprint  varies  between regions.  Although most of the organic cotton is rain-fed,  it is not enough to say that  is organic. We need to be sure it is not depleting water resources. 

Our color grown organic cotton fabric is produced in Brazil, which is rainfed, so no artificial irrigation is used (only rainwater). It is woven and spun in Europe under strict quality controls. Our supplier fully controls the processes of cultivation, spinning and weaving. It does not apply wet processes, only the washing. Conventional finishings as impregnating, spraying, fatigue tests, coatings, softeners, anti-crease treatments, anti-microbe treatments, fungicides, antiseptics, enzyme treatments, humectants, are not been applied.

We apply just one washing process to remove the vegetable fats deriving from the weaving process.

We have decided not to use any cotton that comes from countries or regions where the water scarcity is exacerbated by the cotton industry as happens in North of India.  India’s extensive groundwater resources are rapidly being depleted, The government subsidizes the costs of farmers’ electric pumps, placing no limits on the volumes of groundwater extracted at little cost. We have used only when we have no options as it happens with zippers. We made our part explaining to our supplier why we prefer other origin or other material.

ORGANIC COLOR GROWN COTTON & SOCIAL IMPACT

Our  OCCGuarantee cotton supplier  has been  able to implement their  own growing project in Brazil thanks to all the farmers and families with whom they work as a team. No intermediaries and no exploitation.  Their farming follows agroecological management farming systems (endorsed by Sistemas Ceritificacion participativa de Brasil)  in complete harmony with the environment, using only animal traction and no artificial irrigation methods.  the rotation of crops. Cotton growing is alternated with other crops for their own use such as millet, beans, peanuts, sesame, palm, castor oil, cucumbers, etc. This means that the whole family can subsist from their crops and make profits from the cotton.

On their  part, they offer them the assurance of future stability by bringing them into their  project. They guarantee the involvement of all the farmers, buying everything the families are capable of producing every year. All of them have the assurance that they will continue to work with us in the future. The soil used in this proyect havent have any other crops before so it  is no necesary a regenerative process of the soil.

DIG DEEPER TO WATER FOOTPRINT

As explained sometimes fiber selection is not a crucial factor in the total environmental impact of a garment, variations between regions and sites could be larger than the use of one or another fiber. It happens with cotton and organic cotton. It is necessary to know that the origin of this percentage could vary from one region to another in the same country. But to find out how these numbers are calculated, some concepts have to be considered. The water footprint is defined as the total volume of water used to produce a product or service, and this includes:

Blue water“: the amount of water supplied directly to manufacture the product, from regulated water sources. This water is considered the most important.

Green water” means rainwater naturally provided for the cultivation.

Gray water” the volume of water required to dilute to acceptable values the polluted water discharged after an industrial process. It rounds about 13% of the total impact.

ORIGIN MATTERS

To be able to reduce the water footprint associated with the virtual water consumption of cotton lint it is necessary to take into account many variables. For example, there are significant differences in virtual water needed for cotton cultivation in different countries. The supplier of our  rainfed cotton certified it is not using irrigated water  so  there is no water blue footprint, anyway  we can base on average cotton in Brasil  not taking into account the organic origin.

The Dutchman Arjen Hoekstra, the father of the concept of water footprint, estimates that to make a pair of jeans weighing 1kg requires about 10.850 liters of water of which 4900 liter comes from irrigation from blue water and 4400 from green water. We  think it is better to compare with Indian cotton as it has 51% of total production of organic and conventional cotton. 

Average conventional cotton lint is 107 liters  and 112 for gray fabric blue water footprint in Brazil. By selecting cotton from Brazil we are reducing our blue water footprint fabric in 99.8 % even if we compared with conventional cotton. The organic cotton of our Simone jeans is from Brazil and rainfed certified by our supplier.

Green water is about 90% of these liters so the cotton blue water footprint from Brazil  is one of the lowest in the world pag 192 [3]

Organic cotton doesn’t use pesticides, but it uses more water in the first harvests. But you still have to consider the water that is lost through water pollution due to pesticide use and toxic chemicals in the production process. But once fields are transitioning to organic after 1 or 2 rotation cycles the soil quality rises, the need for water is lowered and allows for the same or even less water usage.  Organic cotton is a rotation crop. The soil is healthy and maintains its nutrients and is better able to hold water in, 50% better than conventional soil. Crop rotation is also an effective measure to break many insect pests and plant disease cycles. Another plus is that organic cotton farms keep lots of people employed fairly.