"When I started, I was more concerned with the design…"

… but as I learned more, I knew this wasn’t enough. Now I design with the environment front of mind.
Samantha Reardon,
founder of Cariki and lead designer
Sam Reardon,
co-founder of Cariki

Since Cariki's launch in 2016, Fair Wear certified organic cotton has been at the core of our range. 

GROWING COTTON SUSTAINABLY

Clothing is said to be the second largest polluter after oil on the planet, and a significant part of this can be attributed to the growing of regular cotton.

The clothing industry releases 1.26 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, accounting for over 10% of global carbon emissions. A large portion of this can be attributed directly to the intensive farming of non-organic cotton, which is used in approximately 30% of the clothes we wear today.

Sadly, cotton farmers are becoming more dependent on chemicals, fuelled by our demand for the new season’s styles. Organic cotton provides a sustainable alternative, but less than 1% of all cotton grown is done so organically. This is why we continue to develop our sustainably sourced organic cotton range. 

The truth behind cotton

As demand for cheap fabric continues to grow, cotton growers are encouraged to increase their dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Regular cotton uses more chemicals per unit area than any other crop. To produce just 1 T-shirt requires ¼ pound of chemicals.

These chemicals can ruin the lives of those who depend on them. Many are toxic to human health and devastates the local communities.

Their use destroys local ecosystems, killing a diverse range of plant species and many animals and insects which depend on them.

Just as importantly, cotton is a thirsty crop and requires 20,000 litres of water per kilogram yield, usually in areas which cannot afford to spare this much water for agriculture. 

Organic farmers harvesting crop in India, aided by the AKRSP initiative. Read more at Aga Khan Foundation.
Aral Sea: left 2014 and right 2000, 1960 extent black line. Source: Nasa Goddard space flight center's photostream
An organic alternative
Organic cotton farmer Sila has noted the financial benefits of switching to organic cotton farming after joining one of the AKRSP promoted Farmer Interest Groups.

On the other hand, organic cotton is grown without any chemicals. Organic cotton provides a fair wage to local growers, does not expose them or their families to dangerous substances, and ensure they have enough clean water to drink.

Organic cotton lowers the impact on local environments, encourages greater plant and animal diversity, requires less energy, releases less CO2, and does not reduce the quality of the soil.

High quality organic cotton also produces a much softer, more comfortable fabric for the consumer which is lacking a chemical footprint.

A sustainable alternative: Cariki's obsession with organic

SUSTAINABLE 100% ORGANIC COTTON

No chemicals are used to grow and produce organic cotton clothing, taking care of the local environment, the health of the farmers, and providing you with a soft, pure and untreated fabric.

It takes 2,700 litres of water to make a standard cotton T-Shirt

... In contrast, organic cotton reduces water consumption by as much as 91% - Soil Association

Ethical Organic Cotton

Organic cotton provides a fairer and more stable wage to the farmer, ensuring they have a higher quality of life and can better look after their families.

Kind to skin

A high quality chemical free organic cotton results in a softer and smoother fabric, perfect for allergy prone or sensitive skin.

But really, why?
There are many reasons for switching to organic cotton...

Kind to skin

Due to the absence of chemicals, smoothness and purity of the fabric, organic cotton is kinder to your skin, perfect for sensitive or allergy prone skin types

Boosts local ecology

Organic cotton can be rotated with other food crops, helping to boost ecological diversity and prevent soil degradation

Encourages green farming

Organic farming communities are increasingly using solar and biogas as an energy source, particularly where access to electricity is limited in some areas of Africa and Asia

Benefits to the environment...

No chemicals

Organic cotton does not use toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers

No water pollution

Local waterways remain uncontaminated by surface runoff of chemicals

Less water intensive

Organic crops are less water intensive, using 91% less water

Less energy intensive

62% less energy is needed to produce organic cotton when compared to conventional cotton farming

CO2 sink

Organic farming helps lock CO2 in the soil, helping to mitigate climate change

Lower CO2 emissions

The growth of organic cotton almost halves the amount of CO2 released. To make 1 tonne of nitrogen fertiliser takes 1 tonne of oil, 100 tonnes of water and creates 7 tonnes of CO2 

ethical benefits

Higher wages

Organic cotton farmers earn a higher, more stable income whilst spending less on chemicals, helping raise them out of poverty.

Better quality of life

Higher financial returns allows farmers to invest in their own well-being, increase investment in education, prevent child labour and provide a better quality of life for the whole family.

No chemical exposure

Organic cotton farmers and their families are not exposed to toxic chemicals. An estimated 1 to 5 million pesticide poisoning cases occur every year, resulting in around 20,000 deaths

Promotes gender equality

Around 10% of organic farmers are women and have control of their own farms, made easier by the fact less heavy objects such as spray units need to be carried around

Encourages local economy

More people are encouraged to stay on the land due to better returns and quality of life, meaning fewer people are forced to move to cities

Encourages local democracy

Many organic cotton farming operations are cooperatives, respecting democracy and working collaboratively to create shared value

If you want to find out more amazing facts about the benefits of switching to organic cotton vs. conventional cotton, please see our article here.

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