Despite the fact that it is better for the environment and has social and economic advantages, organic cotton's worldwide production has dropped on the back of increased demand. Market leader C&A is now asking for more international collaboration.
"Critical point for organic cotton reached"
Up until 2011, the worldwide bio cotton production kept rising, but since then the harvest turnover has dropped 8 %, despite the fact that half of all cotton-producing nations have increased their production, although not enough to cope with the rising demand.
There are several reasons as to why the share of organic cotton has only reached 1 %: many people do not have enough knowledge about how to produce it, but the biggest issue is that there is a lack of collaboration between the local communities and those who buy the product.
"We are now at a critical point in which the demand for organic cotton is exceeding the supply. The availability uncertainty tied to this threatens to endanger long-term investment in organic cotton", Thorsten Rolfes of C&A Europe said.
Everyone has their responsibility
In its position of worldwide market leader in bio cotton clothing (and therefore involved party), C&A is sounding the alarm. It believes all textile companies have a "particular responsibility" to help the environment and to assist local cultivators in their living circumstances.
"Brands play a key role in the development of organic cotton as a sustainable resource. Some brands are taking action, but the supply crisis shows that much more needs to be done. Collaboration is the key - working in partnerships with experts, local communities and governments can enable organic cotton to realize its full potential", Rolfes stated.
"Firms can make a difference not only in the production countries but also in the sales markets by making their customers aware of the subject of organic cotton." To achieve that, C&A has revealed a brochure called "Let's take bio cotton to everyone every day".
"Entire cotton collection from sustainable production by 2020"
C&A managed to sell more than 100 million pieces of clothing of bio cotton in 2013. "The share of organic cotton against the total cotton collection is 38 %, but that's not the end. We are setting a course to double our bio cotton sales and we want to get all our entire cotton collection from sustainable production by 2020", Ingrid Zeegers, head of sustainable business development at C&A Europe, said.
To reach that goal, "we need more seeds, producers and sellers. By working with our partners in this sector and experts in the field, we should be able to pull it off", Zeegers said confidently.