Organic Cotton: C&A is the global leader
C&A Europe (c-and-a) is now the leading retailer worldwide selling clothing made of certified organic cotton. This is confirmed in the Market Report recently published by the Organic Exchange. US sportswear brand Nike and retail chain Walmart follow C&A in second and third position.
"We are very proud that we are now the number one company selling fashion made of organic cotton worldwide," said Andreas G. Seitz, member and spokesman of the European Executive Board of C&A Europe. In 2009, the number of individual organic cotton garments sold by C&A rose by more than 17 per cent over the previous year to a total of 18 million pieces. In 2010, C&A expects to sell some 23 million organic cotton items. This will bring the share of certified organic cotton garments to 10% of the total C&A cotton collection. In comparison organic cotton currently represents just 0.75% of global cotton production. C&A Europe is currently represented across the continent with 1,410 branches in 19 national markets.
"Our commitment to organic cotton not only meets the expectations of our customers. It is also part of our social responsibility as a company," Mr. Seitz said. C&A adopted the strategic goal of offering organic cotton fashion products to the mass market for clothing in 2007. "With its sustained shift to organic cotton, C&A wants to contribute to the much-needed support of sustainable agriculture," said Mr. Seitz in reference to the report by the Organic Exchange. Our aim, he added, is not just to protect the environment through more efficient energy and water consumption. It is equally important, to protect both people and the natural environment by reducing the overall use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, whilst also providing better living conditions for those involved in cotton cultivation.
"Especially given the difficult economic environment and the global textile market downturn, the sustained success of organic fashion in 2009 is very encouraging," Mr. Seitz said. According to Organic Exchange, global sales of organic textiles rose from 3.2 to 4.3 billion US dollars in 2009, which corresponds to an increase of about one third in just one year. Due to anticipated continued growth by anywhere from 20 to 40 per cent annually, Organic Exchange expects global retail sales of textile products made from organic cotton to rise to 5.1 billion (2010) and then 6 billion (2011) US dollars.
Organic cotton is currently cultivated in 22 countries on a total area of 625,000 acres. In its report, Organic Exchange states that 220,000 farmers worldwide currently earn their living cultivating organic cotton. The organisation further reports that the harvest of organically cultivated cotton rose by roughly 20 per cent in 2009 to 802,599 bales. This is a decline in growth over the previous year, which was characterised by marked overproduction.
In this context, C&A recognises the importance of corporate responsibility along the entire textile value chain. "Promoting sustainability in the fashion industry requires a holistic approach that extends far beyond the mere selling of fashionable garments made of organic cotton," Mr. Seitz said. This is why C&A has in the past launched a range of initiatives – particularly in India.