Many of us are currently drinking fair trade coffee or eating fair trade chocolate or banana. But did you know that there is fair trade cotton? Yes, fair trade cotton, fair trade does not only apply to food, in fact, there are many different items that can be produced from fair trade. Fair trade cotton is one of them. Cotton is a big part of the fashion industry and even home products, yet how many of them are using fair trade cotton? Let us take a look at fair trade cotton and understand why we should use fair trade cotton.
Fair Trade Cotton
Did you know that cotton is one of the oldest commercial grown crops? Not only is cotton one of the oldest, there are still over 100 million households that work for cotton farms in the world(Nicholson). Unfortunately, many of the people that are involved in the cotton industry are not properly compensated or are facing hardship on a daily basis due to climate change, harsh chemicals, child labor, and many other global issues. These issues are affecting cotton farmers significantly. This is where fair trade cotton comes into play, with fair trade cotton, we can ensure that these cotton farmers are able to make a living, ensure safe working conditions, and create a sustainable trade.
What is Fair Trade Cotton?
Fair trade cotton is cotton that is produced by farmers that are properly compensated for and in a sustainable manner. Meaning the cotton farmers are provided with the proper equipment for safe working conditions (masks), ensure no children are working, transparency throughout the supply chain, paying the cotton farmers a minimum wage that allows them to support their family and local communities, and many more benefits. Fair trade cotton hopes to combat all the inequalities and hardships that cotton farmers face, as cotton is a big part of the fashion industry and textile industry. In addition, help create a sustainable business, not only sustainable in terms of trade (minimum cost and stable income), but the farming itself is sustainable to the environment and less harsh chemicals.
Fair Trade Cotton vs. Conventional Cotton
Here is a quick comparison between fair trade cotton and conventional cotton
Fair Trade Cotton:
- No child labor
- Protection against marketing influnctuation
- Fair Trade Minimum cost
- Better for the environment
- Have a high chance of also being organic cotton
- Better for the cotton farmers with certain banned chemicals/pesticides
- Heavy usage of pesticides
- Unstable income for cotton farmers
- Have possibility of child labors
Why should we use fair trade cotton?
India is currently the largest fair trade cotton producing country in the world. On the other hand, India also has the highest cotton farmer suicides, “280,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide over the last 20 years”. This is often due to that fact of the hardship of cotton farming (market pricing and instability) and the little amount of money that is actually being received by the cotton farmers making their lives extremely difficult. In addition, in many places that provide conventional cotton, child labor is used, “The US Department of Labor, in 2016, reported child labour in the cotton production process in 18 countries, including China, India, Pakistan and Brazil”(Nicholson). By buying more fair trade cotton products will increase the demand for fair trade cotton, thus, more cotton farmers will have an incentive to become fair trade. Also, you can help reduce the chances of your clothes or bed sheets being made by children. Fair trade cotton not only provides more money for the cotton farmers, but they also ensure that the cotton farmers are working in ethical conditions, and have the say and power in the trade.
Make a difference for the cotton farmers with fair trade cotton
By supporting fair trade cotton, you are supporting the cotton farmers. Not only are you supporting the ones that already fair trade cotton farmers but help convert more cotton farms to be fair trade. With the marketing demand and consumer trend, we can make a difference for the people. Using your buying power and choosing ethically, you can make a difference and that is what Ethical Choice is all about.
Show off your cotton
Now you know the importance of fair trade cotton and how much of a difference you can make fair trade cotton, what are you still waiting for. Buy fair trade cotton whenever you can, share your knowledge of fair trade cotton with more people, and support fair trade overall. Every little step you take can make a difference for the people. Besides having fair trade cotton is something not only good for you, the environment but also the people so why not? Show off your fair trade cotton on social media, with your friends, family or even colleagues.
Nicholson, Heather. “Top 10 Facts about Fairtrade Cotton.” Fairtrade Foundation. 01 July 2020. Web. 19 Oct. 2020.
“Why Is Fairtrade Cotton Important?” Gold Is a Neutral. Web. 19 Oct. 2020.