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Cotton – the dirtiest fiber in the world?2 min read

Jeff Gomez

Head of Growth at Ecochain


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When you think about sustainable fashion – what is the first thing that comes to mind? Chances are you’re thinking about cotton. Sometimes referred to as the dirtiest fiber in the world! Numbers show that it used up to 16% of global insecticides.

Many of us think that cotton production is the main driver of environmental impacts. And although it’s not the biggest environmental issue in the fashion industry, it still contributes around 15% of the environmental impact along the supply chain.

350.000m2 of land are dedicated to cotton production alone – 33.000 tons of cotton are produced every year.

That weight equals the weight of the Eiffel tower – three and a half times!

Growing cotton for one jeans and one t-shirt takes around 20.000 litres of water – processing of the fibres not included.

You can do the math on this one.

Organic cotton is a huge marketing argument, and even companies like H&M have products made from organic cotton in their portfolio these days. And it does have an impact – the CO2 emissions of organic cotton are almost half of conventional cotton, and the use of water is extremely reduced, too.

But eco-cotton makes up less than 1% of the market. So, what could be the alternatives? Take a look at our gallery to find out more.

Polyester wastes less water, but recycling and energy use can be an issue.

Calculate your product footprint, for free.

With Mobius, you can model your product, compare different options, and calculate the impact along the entire product life cycle. Getting started is free.

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