Fair trade and Organic, two words that one would think should go hand-in-hand. This is not always the case; that is why it’s important to know not only whether or not your cotton is organic but also where it is coming from as well. There are certain symbols and labels that can be associated with both fair trade and organic. If your cotton is already organic why should it also be fair trade? Fair trade products like some organic cottons ensure that farmers are in safe working conditions, and being compensated a fair wage, while getting paid premiums for healthcare, finance programs, and women’s empowerment programs. They also are kept to an international environmental standard, with other financial incentives that help them with organic conversion, water, and reforestation in many areas if need be.
There are currently 20 countries around the world producing organic cotton. Out of those 20 countries, there are 52 farms that have all organic certifications. Out of those 52 farms, only 7 of them have all of the organic certifications and are also fair trade according to the Textile Exchange map (http://textileexchange.org/). That means that only 7 farmers are guaranteed fair wages, a safe working environment, and for some even good healthcare. There are however 14 farms in conversion to becoming organic and we should encourage them to be fair trade as well. There is a saying in the industry that the supply must meet the demand. So if you as consumers not only demand that your cotton and other goods be organic, but also fair trade, before you know it we will not need to use the words organic or fair trade, because it will just be a normal standard. Only you as consumers can help make the world a better place. The supply must always meet the demand!
~ Organic Cotton Fair Trade