Admit it: you don't pay always attention to whether the products you buy contain organic cotton or regular cotton. Neither do I, so it's a good thing that major companies are taking it upon themselves to use organic cotton—especially since regular cotton is covered in more toxic insecticides and pesticides than any other crop.
According to the 2007-2008 Organic Cotton Market Report, global organic cotton sales rose 63% in 2008 to $3.2 billion, with U.S. retailers Wal-Mart, Anvil Knitwear, Nike, Pottery Barn, and Greensource leading the pack in organic cotton use. Organic cotton-friendly companies outside the U.S. include Zara's, C&A, Coop Switzerland, and Hess Natur.
We shouldn't get too excited about organic cotton's explosive growth quite yet, though, according to Greenbiz. Approximately 668,000 organic bales of cotton will be harvested this year, compared to about 110 million conventional bales—that's still a lot of pesticides floating around. But with prominent companies increasingly embracing organic cotton in clothing, bed linens, diapers, and towels, I have no doubt that the market will continue to grow. The Organic Cotton Market Report agrees, predicting that the market for organic cotton will balloon to $4 billion in 2009 and $5.3 billion in 2010.
But really, once Wal-Mart starts carrying something, doesn't that mean it's already reached critical mass?