mitments to farmers in India. The proximity of the active Indian textile industry consuming much of the fiber is a strong factor behind
growth in the country as well.
Organic cotton production in India also has the strong backing of
the country’s government, which has formed an Organic Cotton Advisory Board, of which OE-India is a member. In addition, a National
Center for Organic Farming (NCOF) has been established under the
“I“Incorporation of organic
fiber into product lines has
become the norm, rather
than the exception.”
Ministry of Agriculture in New Delhi. The NCOF works to improve
farming practices and fund research through non-govermental or-ganizations(NGOs), universities and research institutes.
Continued expansion will occur in the years to come, especially in
areas where clear market signals and strategic partnerships are in
place. OE estimates organic cotton fiber production for 2008/09 will
be approximately 224,722 MT, a 54 percent increase from the
145,872MT produced in 2007/08. Certified organic cotton will be
produced for the first time in Bangladesh, and Argentinean farmers
may also certify their production.
In the event of higher than anticipated expansion or unusually
strong harvests, organic cotton production in 2008/09 could reach
between 250,000 MT (462,486 bales) and 280,000 MT (630,914
bales), representing a growth of 71 to 92 percent, respectively.
Organic Market Growth
Not only is organic cotton production increasing, but the incorporation of organic fiber into product lines has become the norm,
rather than the exception.
Some of the world’s largest companies are now committed to organic cotton, including Wal-Mart, Nike, C&A and others. According
to the Organic Exchange 2007 Market Report, the top five purchasers of organic cotton in 2006 were Wal-Mart (USA), Nike (USA),
Coop Switzerland, Patagonia (USA) and Otto (Germany). Woolworth’s South Africa and C&A (Belgium) in 2007 introduced large
programs and OE expects the companies to make the Top Five list in
2008, soon to be announced.
Demand particularly in the North American and European markets has driven this trend and continues to do so. Along with the production of organic cotton fiber, the market for finished goods has
increased as well, from $240M in 2002 to nearly $2B in 2007, with
growth anticipated to reach $3.5 billion by the end of 2008. Given
that the quantity, variety and availability of organic textiles is constantly increasing, Organic Exchange expects the market to exceed
$5 billion by the end of 2009.
The organic cotton market has experienced exponential growth for a
number of reasons. The foremost reasons are innovative thinking on the
part of brands and manufacturers
about the social and environmental
impact of their products and improved consumer awareness of sustainability issues.
Companies are making sustainability a core part of their business models.
As Nike’s most recent mission statement notes, in reference to the environmental impacts of manufacturing,
“To continue with business as usual, ignoring the impact, is not an option.”
In addition, an increased focus on
sustainable products at international
events such as MAGIC Marketplace
and Premier Vision, two of the
world’s largest fabric and apparel
shows; extensive media coverage of
organic fiber products in international consumer and trade publications; and the adoption of organic
fiber by many large-scale brands, has
brought a tremendous breadth of organic products to the marketplace.
Some examples of actions taken to
incorporate organic cotton into
major product lines include:
• Nike moved ever closer to its goal
of including 5 percent organic cotton in all its cotton-containing apparel by 2010 and expanding its
offering of 100 percent organic
Company estimates show that
more than nine percent of the cotton Nike used globally was organic
in 2007, representing approximately 11 million pounds ( 22,917
bales). This is a significant increase
from 1997, when the company purchased just 250,000 pounds (521
bales) of certified organic cotton
for use in its fall 1998 apparel
• Nordstrom launched its use of organic cotton in 2007, quadrupling
its use by the end of 2008. The