Is Fairtrade cotton organic?
Fairtrade cotton can be organic but is not necessarily so. This is because Fairtrade aims to support the most marginalized farmers who cannot always afford to convert to organic farming or who lack the knowledge about organic agriculture. It can take years to convert a crop to organic, but it is something many Fairtrade cotton farmers are working towards as they receive an even higher price if their cotton is organic. Fairtrade maintains very strong and clear environmental standards based on the international recommendations of the UN Environment Programme, such as the strict control of chemicals and reductions in pesticides on the Pesticide Action Network’s Dirty Dozen list*, because they can be harmful to the farmer’s environment as well as their own health. Fairtrade also encourages sustainable farming so farmers establish their own environmental development plans to ensure that where possible, waste is managed, materials are recycled, and steps are taken to avoid soil erosion and water pollution. Genetically modified seeds are also strictly forbidden.