top of page
Image by Rosie Fraser

Six Steps to go Organic!

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

How to Go Organic & why we need a sourcing guide for organic cotton.

As we transition our current linear supply chains over to more transparent and circular supply chains, it's important that we really focus on our raw materials and understand how and where they are produced, as well as their environmental & human impacts. To be able to create a sustainable and transparent chain it is imperative that we know what we are growing, by whom, where and who is producing this for us and allowing the end consumer to have access to complete transparency so that they can decide if the product is ethically, sustainably & of the quality that they wish to purchase.

This week a new guide was published, Titled: 'How to go Organic' by Andrea Bischof, Stefanie Kaegi (2019). Despite this guide having a focus on Germany and their growth within their own Organic Cotton use, this guide helps answer and guide others to transition from conventional and more sustainable cotton such as BCI over to 100% Organic cotton.

"Globally, cotton cultivation accounts for about 5% of global pesticide use (by value in total, about US$ 3 billion annually) even though it is cultivated only on about 2.5% of global arable land. In some developing countries up to 55% of pesticides are applied to cotton cultivation

Currently more than 80% of sown cotton seed is genetically modified. Organic cotton meets these challenges and is an alternative solution and a driver for innovation and new technologies that enrich other, more mainstream sustainable cotton production systems.

If applied comprehensively, the benefits of organic cotton production systems are manifold: enhanced biodiversity thanks to crop rotation and stopping the use of synthetic pesticides, as well as improved health of farmer families and their production base, soil and water – two ever more important assets in cotton production regions. On the economic side, organic cotton offers higher farm gate prices and reduced input costs and thus re- duces risk of indebtedness of farmers. It often goes along with long-term trade relationships that allow farmers to invest in their overall production system."

At RawAssembly we encourage our visitors, who are made up of the leading fashion brands, independent fashion designers, textile designers, sourcing professionals, buyers and aspiring fashion design students to look at sustainable, responsible & organic alternatives that are right for your indivudal supply chains and reduce the impacts on our planet. We encourage designers to chase traceability within their raw materials and supply chains and to advocate long term 'Responsible Sourcing". Small changes are the start and every change helps us create a more sustainable textile supply chain. By moving to Organic cotton we are able to reduce & eventually remove hazardous chemicals from our environments, create bio-diversity that helps protect our soil quality, maintains sustainable agricultural our protects our food supply, but also note that organic is not always the most sustainable option - its key to know your suply chain and know where and by whom grows or produces your fibres.

According to the guide,"Across the industry, brands and retailers are now engaged in improving their social and environmental impact by fixing internal targets and public commitments to purchase sustainable fibre. Public commitments serve to set ambitious but achievable targets that can increase industry-wide demand. Brands, retailers, suppliers, philanthropists and governments are encouraged to work together to achieve one goal.

The collaboration has the potential to drive market change through increased demand from the industry and promote the spread of organic cotton in the industry. This will lead to greater transparency, accountability and impact for all, from farmers to consumers."

“The more Fairtrade- or GOTS-certified products we sell, the higher is the transparency that we and our customers demand throughout the entire supply chain

The Six steps incude:

1 Management Level: Set a purchase target

2 Define qualities and quantities

3 Define your partnerships

4 Track and trace your supply chain

5 Contract with with your suppliers

6 Communicate

The guide provides pertinent arguments for organic cotton purchase considering the of the guide?

please see the full guide below:



Published by:

Partnership for Sustainable Textiles c/o Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 40

53113 Bonn Germany

T +49 228 4460 3560


Lead authors

Andrea Bischof and Stefanie Kägi, Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation

Photo credits/sources

Ecoalf (cover) | Lessafair, Photographer: Lydia Gorges (p. 5) | Lanius, Photographer: Petra Fischer (p. 6) | Arket (p. 9, 30, 39) | Katharina Oppertshäuser (p. 10, 13) | Natascha von Hirschhausen, Photographer: Kerstin Jacobsen (p. 33) | Unsplash (p. 20, 26, 29)


E_SDG_logo_No UN Emblem_square_cmyk.jpg
bottom of page