Aware of the damage that the chemicals and insecticides used to obtain cotton do to the environment and to the people who work in the fields, the outdoor clothing brand Patagonia, developed a type of organic cotton, whose production is not harmful to life.
Chemical cotton kills. It seems like a pretty strong sentence when listening or reading it, however, it is a reality. World cotton production is far from the whiteness and softness with which this product is associated. In fact, the fields where it grows are constantly sprayed with strong chemicals that not only permeate the earth, but also the body of people, affecting their quality of life.
As if that were not enough, in parallel to the great growth of the industry of this type of cotton, the development of genetically modified seeds has been added, which are resistant to dangerous substances. According to a report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer at the World Health Organization, non-organic cotton is resistant to glyphosate and other chemicals. It should be noted that the herbicide glyphosate and the insecticide malathion and diazinon were classified as probably carcinogenic to humans.
Although chemical cotton plantations account for less than 2.5% of the world's croplands, it is estimated that they receive 16 to 25% of all insecticides, 10% of all pesticides and 7% of all pesticides. herbicides that exist on the market. It should be noted that most of these substances are highly dangerous for health.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer has more than 800 studies supporting the link between the use of this product and the spread of the disease. This powerful pesticide not only affects people who have direct contact in the fields, but also crosses the placenta, damaging the fetus and, moreover, is so resistant that it never disappears from the ground, but accumulates intoxicating the environment and those who live in the localities near the crops. On the other hand, these chemicals are mixed with those used in the manufacture of threads and threads to make clothes, which are as toxic as those used in plantations. What to do then?
Bet on organic
Faced with this complex reality, it is necessary to ask ourselves, what are the clothes we wear made of? Aware of this global problem, the clothing brand Patagonia gave a cry of warning: Chemical cotton kills! And in a bold move to counteract the effects of this industry, he set out to develop organic cotton that was free of these toxins. “In 1994 we made the decision to change the cotton used in our clothing line to one that is organically grown. At the beginning it was challenging and very costly, because it is the most common production industry in the world, but we could not be part of an industry that causes so many collateral effects to all kinds of living beings ”, said Tania Garimani, Marketing Manager of Patagonia.
The decision of the outdoor brand led it to face different difficulties, given that 90% of world cotton production is chemical, for which it faced a reduction in varieties, loss of suppliers and removal of partners. However, by 1996 it was introducing its full line of organic cotton. How was this challenge?
“We had to grow our cotton and make our own fabrics and threads. All this was possible thanks to a collaborative work with our suppliers, since we did not have to neglect any step of the production line to obtain a cotton that met our quality standards. After our experience, we invite companies in the textile industry to opt for materials that are not harmful to people's health or the environment, because we were able to demonstrate that you can be in business and at the same time save the planet. ”, Garimani added.
Patagonia has reaffirmed its commitment to the planet in sustainable actions like this one. The brand not only grows organic cotton to manufacture its products, but also, in more than 20 years of development, has managed to sell this new line and influence society towards cleaner agriculture. Now, the challenge is to spread this spirit to other companies in the textile industry to create without harming the planet.
From 1996 to the present, only 1% of cotton plantations correspond to organic crops. Therefore, the call is to join a conscious manufacturing and consumption of clothing. Chemical cotton kills! What are you gonna do about it?
Founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia is based in Ventura, California. Certified as a B-Corp, her mission is to be in business to save our home, planet Earth. Since 2013, the brand has been promoting the Worn Wear program, as a way to encourage people to take good care of their equipment, wash it and repair it as necessary. The idea is to keep the clothes, regardless of the brand, in circulation for as long as possible and when the time comes for a replacement, do it with a durable garment, in order to reduce the impact of indiscriminate consumption on the environment.
The outdoor clothing brand donates 1% of its sales to support the work of NGOs that carry out environmental causes. This initiative is part of the “1% for the Planet” movement, promoted by Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia) and Craig Mathews (founder of BlueRibbon Flies). This global thinking inspires companies and individuals to support environmental solutions in the belief that the power of collective action to protect the environment outweighs individual struggle.
In addition, the company has donated $ 100 million under this program since 1985 to support grassroots environmental organizations. In the national territory, Patagonia has supported initiatives such as Ecosistemas, Fundación Relaves, Acceso Panam and Corporación Cultiva