The Guide: What’s the Difference between Organic Cotton and Conventional Cotton?

The Guide: What’s the Difference between Organic Cotton and Conventional Cotton?

At Cottsbury, organic cotton is our bread and butter. We think it’s so good in fact, we’ve chosen to revolve our whole business around it.*

*Note: Not any old organic cotton though- GOTS certified and Fairtrade organic cotton- the pinnacle of organic cotton.

But we know just because it’s our obsession and is the reason we’re here today, doesn't mean that everyone knows quite what it is and why it’s so special

Let us rectify that…


The problem with Cotton- Conventional Cotton

Cotton has been called ‘white gold’ because it’s so widely used in the textiles industry. It’s the most commonly used fibre on the planet. Cotton is big business, and big business means…


GMO Seeds

Normal cotton is mostly grown using genetically modified organism seeds, to maximise yield, size and quash diversity. The result is exactly that- a lack of biodiversity which can be devastating to the soil and surrounding ecosystems.


Chemicals are used in non-organic fibre farming and textile processing that can cause cancer, birth defects and other serious illnesses in workers and those living nearby. These also destroy biodiversity and ecosystems on a worldwide level.

Water Misuse 

As cotton is such a popular and thirsty fibre, diversion of water for cotton production has caused some of the world biggest lakes to dry up. 

No regulation and labour rights

Millions of small scale cotton farmers are living below the poverty line, due to rising costs of production, fluctuating market prices, poor yields and climate change. The enormous scale and complexity of global supply chains mean that farmers who are often at the bottom of the supply chain, have little to no power to negotiate better prices. 


Organic Cotton in comparison

There are a myriad of benefits to using organic cotton, not restricted to:

  • Organic cotton is grown and processed without toxic chemicals, synthetic fertilisers or GMO’s, so one of the basic differences in organic cotton compared with normal cotton is that it’s not toxic. There will not be a cocktail of pesticides and chemicals used to treat and process the fabric before it arrives at your family’s home. 
  • It also protects the workers from handling dangerous and life -altering chemicals.
  • It protects water use, as organic farming benefits the soil which means the soil can hold on to more water at times of drought. 

However it’s not all good. Organic cotton is more expensive. Organic cotton plants are smaller than their GMO counterparts so require more land and physical plants to grow.


Cottsbury’s Cotton

Our organic cotton is certified by GOTS (98% is, the rest is certified by the OCS). GOTS (The Global Organic Textile Standard) is the globally recognised standard for organic production. They ensure all the relevant (and strict) standards are met and upheld for the best organic products.

Our cotton is also Fairtrade certified, the Fairtrade Foundation works with the farmers to encourage more sustainable cotton production and helps them organise to achieve more in group negotiations. It also ensures a guaranteed minimum price to ensure farmers are being paid a fair rate.

Only 1% of cotton in the world is organic. And we want that to change.

Given that cotton is so commonly used, the switch to organic cotton can have enormous impact on the people and environments- this is only the beginning.

Explore our finest organic cotton bed, bath and fashion collections now.