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LONDON – Apparel Insider has released its much-discussed cotton paper, written in late 2019, as a free download. The paper can be viewed by clicking the link HERE.

The paper was written by Veronica Bates Kassatly, an independent activist, on a pro bono basis. Her research findings include:

  • A major C&A Foundation-funded study found 25 per cent of Indian organic cotton farmers surveyed had used Monocrotophos, an insecticide acutely toxic to birds and humans and banned in many countries
  • The same research found that, on average, one tonne of BCI cotton consumed 7 per cent more blue water than one tonne of conventional cotton
  • Lobby groups continue to claim organic cotton uses 90 per cent less water than conventional cotton based on a 2014 LCA by Textile Exchange. This is despite the fact that the same LCA states it cannot be used to make comparative assertions under ISO standards. It also states that the water differences found between organic and conventional cannot be attributed to their respective production systems
  • The environmental impact of organic cotton, in terms of both emissions and blue water consumption, continues to be drastically understated due to the exclusion of manure’s upstream impact
  • The main fibre scoring systems at present – including the SAC’s Higg MSI – base their values for organic cotton on one industry-funded LCA, despite the fact that the study itself says it can’t be used to make comparative assertions, or to attribute differences to the respective production systems. The LCA concerned also has notable errors and omissions, according to Kassetly’s analysis, which are outlined in extensive detail in this report.

The full, 6,000 word paper initially appeared in the November-December issue of Apparel Insider.

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