At TPOP, we have a dream; the dream that one day all cotton fields will be cultivated in an ethical and sustainable manner. Yes, we believe in human beings and their pugnacity: intensive and polluting agriculture will soon be a thing of the past, goodbye conventional cotton, welcome to organic cotton!
You may think we are naive, but being pessimistic will not make the world better. We must always believe in our dreams, even the craziest ones.
As a reminder, the differences between the cultivation of conventional and organic cotton are enormous, it's a no-brainer: the cultivation of the latter does not require pesticides and other chemical products, requires much less water and allows farmers to work in better conditions. Cherry on the cake: it is of excellent quality, which gives products a more durable and pleasant finish than clothes with the touch of cigarette paper (hello fast fashion, yes, we're talking about you).
Except that for the moment, organic agriculture covers... 1% of the cotton culture in the world.
We're wide off the mark. So, what do we do?
Do we wait with our arms crossed?
No thank you.
Well, recently a new way to support the development of organic cotton appeared.
Cotton in conversion
First of all, let's go back to the past
Here we are in 2020 (yes, we know, sorry). Consumers are expressing more and more concern about the impact of textiles on the planet and that's GOOD. Except that the industry giants are taking note and responding en masse to this growing need: it's official, it's the race to organic cotton.
This impulse is shaking up the world of organic cotton: once equivalent to conventional cotton, the prices of organic cotton are dangerously swelling (even more than us after the end of the year holidays).
And bam: that's how organic cotton prices have surpassed those of basic cotton. This is a rather logical move, given that the cultivation of organic cotton is still more expensive for farmers.
Except that if demand exceeds supply, something goes wrong.
That's exactly why the famous brand Patagonia is taking the initiative to launch the cotton in conversion in 2020. The principle? Encourage the cultivation of organic cotton by selling at a fair price the textile from former conventional cotton fields, recently converted to organic farming.
How does it work exactly?
To make his field organic, the farmer takes several steps...
Let's agree on this: these freshly organic crops meet strictly the same requirements as those already on the market.
However, it can take up to 3 years for these fields to obtain organic certification... And it is this certification that allows the farmers to obtain a remuneration that is commensurate with their expenses and their efforts to move towards a more sustainable culture.
So that's what in-conversion cotton is: cotton that is not officially organic but meets ALL the criteria to be organic. Still, we think it would be a shame not to take advantage of it.
Why choose cotton in conversion?
For the planet 🌿
In-conversion cotton farming is more environmentally friendly than the overwhelming majority of cotton fields in the world. With no questionable chemicals or excessive energy and water use, it is as exemplary a model for agriculture as organic cotton. As good supporters of Mother Nature, we can only applaud the approach.
For ethical reasons 🤝
The transition from conventional to organic cotton has a cost for farmers. Without chemicals that tend to boost the soil, the production of a field will drop considerably in the first years of conversion... And without the possibility of being properly paid, you can imagine that this perspective is far from being joyful for the farmers.
Supporting the sale of in-conversion cotton is therefore a human gesture: it is to offer one's gratitude to the farmers who have decided to make the textile sector healthier. They are worth it.
To prevent the price of organic cotton from rising 💰
Without cotton in conversion, no organic cotton. Without organic cotton, a demand without answer. And without demand response, organic cotton prices skyrocket...
The three-year transition period is not particularly attractive to farmers at first glance - and understandably so. It has the potential to turn them away from a transition and stall the progress of organic cotton in the global market. Considering that demand for organic cotton is expected to grow 84% by 2030, losing the participation of willing farmers could put a huge dent in the market.
From June 2021 to the beginning of 2022, organic cotton prices have begun a staggering 50% surge. If we don't want them to continue to rise (not really) slowly but (very) surely, everything must be done to support the voluntary farmers to switch to this type of agriculture. This requires a correct remuneration: a principle which seems to us very obvious, and yet, which is only made possible since 2020 with the sale of cotton in conversion.
We have therefore decided to sow our own seed by offering products made from in-conversion cotton in our print on demand catalog. Expect to see these new products in the next few weeks... It's imminent!
Cotton in conversion, an exclusive in the TPOP catalog
You're beginning to know us: we're constantly on the lookout for new ways to pamper our planet. So, when we heard about the launch of the Cotton in Conversion initiative, there was no hesitation... We grabbed our notebooks, our phones and contacted our suppliers.
Here is the list of cotton products in conversion that you will find in our catalog under the heading "Change":
Promoting cotton in conversion is a bit like putting our stone to the building of the sustainable consumption we dream of. We know that eco-responsibility is not the easy way out, so nothing makes us happier than supporting farmers who are brave enough to face the usual obstacles to the transition to organic. In all your usual goodwill, we are sure you will be happy to be part of it. It's a great adventure that's starting, TPousses!
Sources: Textile Exchange, Economic Times