Although it is a natural fiber, conventional cotton is far from environmentally friendly.
Cotton is mainly produced in dry and warm regions, but it needs a lot of water to grow. In some places, like India, inefficient water use means that up to 20,000 liters of water are needed to produce 1kg of cotton. In the meantime, 100 million people in India do not have access to drinking water.
99.3% of cotton is grown using fertilizers and genetically modified seeds. Cotton represents 10% of the pesticides and 25% of the insecticides used globally.
99% of the world’s cotton farmers are located in developing countries where labor, health and safety regulations are nonexistent or not enforced most of the time. Child and forced labor are common practice.
In Uzbekistan (the 6th largest exporter of cotton in the world), more than 1 million people are forced to pick cotton for little or no pay every year.