Why Choose Organic Cotton for Your Baby and How is GOTS Certified Cotton Different?
Fluffy cotton growing in the fields – what could be more natural than that for your precious baby? But do you know how much chemical processing goes into cotton to turn it into the finished product? Here at The Sleep Store we are proud to offer a better alternative, with GOTS-certified organic cotton, which is safer for our little ones. So what is the difference between organic cotton and regular cotton for your baby?
Grown without chemicals, organic cotton has fewer potential allergens, making the fabric gentler on your skin. Organic cotton is perfect for those who suffer from eczema and other conditions. Because it's so soft, baby clothes won’t irritate the skin like conventional cotton can. More than that, choosing organic cotton is both ecologically and socially responsible.
Insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, synthetic fertilizers and other scary-sounding concoctions are completely avoided when growing organic cotton. The aim of this is to minimize the destructive impact that conventional cotton growing and manufacturing methods have on Mother Earth. In organic cotton farming, a back-to-basics but totally effective approach called crop rotation is used that does not strip the soil but keeps its nutrients intact. Weeds are eliminated through hand-weeding and hand-hoeing. Natural predators, beneficial insects and trap crops are used to keep pests at bay instead of harmful pesticides. This way, good cotton is produced without leaving damaging residue behind.
Our organic cotton is sourced through clothing manufacturer Babu, which works with a farmers' cooperative in India. Babu founder Ali Hui has found this to be a wonderful opportunity to support the village, families and the local school. Being close to the source of the cotton means that energy used in transportation is greatly reduced, ensuring a smaller carbon footprint and making the world a better place for generations to come.
When choosing organic products, it is good to question the authenticity of manufacturers' claims. To ensure our products are truly organic, The Sleep Store's organic cotton range adheres to the GOTS standard. GOTS stands for Global Organic Textile Standard - the leading textile processing standard for organic fibres.
Established in 2006 the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) was formed to define the requirements for organic textiles. Approved GOTS certification bodies ensure through on-site inspection and auditing that every process the fibres go through adheres to the highest standards. This aims to ensure low toxicity of the product, minimal carbon footprint in the production and social compliance for workers - from the harvesting of the raw materials, right down to packaging and distribution. We LOVE the GOTS standard as it is the highest standard for organics. Many other standards simply certify the cotton itself and none of the processing steps. So even if you are buying ‘organic’ cotton, the process may still be harmful, so we urge you to do your research. GOTS-certified cotton, like ours, is truly organic.
We aim for all our suppliers to meet this sort of standard, as outlined in The Sleep Store’s Ethical Sourcing Policy and Code of Ethics. Organic cotton from GOTS-certified suppliers must pass the basic requirements for toxicity and biodegradability:
- Use of heavy toxic metals, formaldehyde and genetically-modified organisms (GMO) are prohibited whether in the bleach or sizing agents
- Oxygen-based bleach only, never chlorine
- No aromatic solvents, phthalates or PVC can be used in printing
- Operators should also have environmental policies that minimize waste and discharge
- Wastewater treatment facilities are a must to ensure that wastewater is properly discharged
- Packaging material must be PVC-free
It's not only the materials and methodology in manufacturing GOTS organic cotton that is remarkable. The workers employed in every step of the process are treated fairly and with high regard. All employees are freely employed, paid fairly and work in a safe and hygienic workplace. Working hours are limited and no child or indentured labour is involved. Discrimination is not tolerated. Ali works with suppliers who run cattle and organic farms, supplying organic vegetables and dairy to their workers. Simply put, buying organic cotton means buying with your conscience.
GOTS-certified suppliers are also expected to comply with the following social criteria:
- Employment is freely chosen
- Workers are free to form associations and have the right to collective bargaining
- Safe and hygienic working conditions
- No child labour
- Fair wages
- No excessive working hours
- No discrimination
- Regular employment is provided
- Workers are treated humanely
For more information, please see The Sleep Store’s Ethical Sourcing Policy, Code of Conduct and Sustainability Guidelines. It’s also important to us that the entire operation treads lightly on the earth. We therefore run an effective recycling and waste-reduction policy in the office and warehouse and embed sustainability into everything we do at The Sleep Store. We have a no-plastic bags policy with our suppliers and ensure that all Sleep Store items are supplied in reuseable cotton bags, with recyclable cardboard swing tags. These bags have a life beyond their original purpose, as supermarket produce bags, and handy clothing and shoe bags. By offering high-quality products we avoid fast fashion, and hope that our items are handed down and reused several times over their lifetime.