Organic Textiles....Can the importance be undermined?

Excerpt: India has already shown the way in becoming the leading producer of organic cotton and textiles. This effort needs to be intensified.

Organic Textiles are now a matter of constant discussion and debate in our industry circles. While many are convinced that it is the way forward towards achieving the norms of sustainability that our industry speaks about, there are others who feel it is too insignificant in its size to make a difference and is nothing more than a marketing tool for companies engaging in this business.

Perhaps the diametrically opposite viewpoints have something to do with the fact that organic products and their benefits have always been looked at as a function of the product itself, rather than in terms of the larger picture. This is true of all the 3 major categories of organic products that are in circulation and prominence today i.e. food, textiles and cosmetics. While the impact on the immediate consumer in all cases is a matter of huge importance and due consideration (since it involves skin contact or oral consumption, as the case maybe, and consequently human health), its more long-reaching impact is on the environment and across its entire supply or production chain.

The effect manifests itself in a much more magnified manner, when you consider sustainable farming practices, long-term soil viability, the flora and fauna in the vicinity, and the ground water-table amongst other important macro-factors crucial to the environment. Organic practices and products address all of these issues in the interest of sustainability.

The importance becomes even more pronounced when you consider the alarming proliferation of genetically-modified products that are finding use nowadays (and is one of the strongest contraventions to the basics of organic production). These genetically-modified products, in turn, call for a huge strain on natural resources and also an increased use of harmful pesticides. In fact, a recent live case-study has shown alarming drops in the bee population in areas where genetically modified products were used, and it is common knowledge that bees, by virtue of pollination, contribute to over one-third of all the food that we consume.

India has already shown the way in becoming the leading producer of organic cotton and textiles. This effort needs to be intensified. While it might not be the only answer or path towards sustainability, it surely is an important step in that direction. That is, of course, assuming, that we are indeed serious about adopting sustainability in our industry. COLOURAGE, on its part, will try and play an active role in educating the industry about the same, and also partner with other committed players in this endeavour.

Dilip Raghavan
Editor Publisher