Q&A with Sustainability Manager Henrik

Why is choosing organic cotton important for the climate impact the fashion industry have on earth? We've asked our Sustainability Manager Henrik, and here's what he has to say about it.

Why organic cotton?

The answer for this is simple. We use organic cotton, because conventional cotton is not an option for us.

99% of the cotton in the world is conventionally grown – in short, this means a heavy use of pesticides, artificial fertilizers and genetically modified crops. This of course has a negative impact on biodiversity, water and soil. The heavy reliance on fertilizers and pesticides also results in conventional cotton having a climate impact that is almost twice as high as organic cotton. The conventional cotton is often grown by poor and marginalized farmers that don’t get fairly paid for the work they do, and many of them suffer negative health effects from the pesticides they use.

And that is why we have chosen to use organic cotton; we make sure no synthetic fertilizers, no pesticides and no genetically modified crops are used, something that benefits both the farmers and the environment.

Where does the cotton used by Sandqvist come from?

We buy our cotton from Chetna, a farmers’ owned group of cooperatives in India. They grow cotton in the Adilabad district in Telangana.

We have visited the villages to see for ourselves how the cotton trade has contributed to village development. With every kilogram of cotton that we buy, we pay a premium to the cooperative that they use for the benefit of the local community, for example by training for farmers and by supporting local schools. In the Adilabad district they can actually see that the percentage of girls who graduate from primary school has increased over the last years. This is the kind of improvement that shows how direct trade can be a powerful tool for change.

What is sustainable cotton?

The sustainability aspect of a material is not only based on the environmental impact the production has. A big part of the sustainability aspect is actually consumption, and the life expectancy of the products. Not even organic cotton, when over-consumed, is good for the planet. That is why we always encourage our customers to take great care of our products, with designated care products like our Cotton wax, Leather balm and Water-resistant spray, making them last as long as possible. We also provide our in-house Repair Service for those bags that need repairing.

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