In your VAUDE cotton products we use certified organic cotton that is manufactured under strict environmental conditions – without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides and requiring less water than conventional cultivation methods. Genetic engineering is also banned. After all, we want you to feel great with our products.
For years we have been processing certified organic cotton – one example: from our fabric manufacturers in Portugal. However, we weren’t allowed to use the GOTS seal for a long time. One reason for this is that VAUDE itself was not GOTS certified until 2016 and this is a prerequisite for the use of the GOTS seal.
The second reason is that the GOTS standard specifies a minimum proportion of natural fibers in the end product. For many VAUDE products, however, we use a different fiber blend, usually cotton combined with polyester and the proportion of polyester was too high for the GOTS.
VAUDE itself is now GOTS certified, and that includes the complete supply chain, from the cotton field to the retailers. You can recognize all products from this supply chain with a GOTS compliant fiber blend by the GOTS seal in our webshop and directly on the product in stores.
You can find the VAUDE GOTS certificate here.
Conventional cotton is a rather toxic affair – including for the farmers who make it and the residents of cotton plantations who are exposed to these chemical substances.
According to research by the Pesticide Action Network PAN, about 25 % of all insecticides and 11 % of all pesticides used worldwide are used in conventional cotton production, even though cotton accounts for only 2.4 % of the total global agricultural area.
Organic cotton, on the other hand, is cultivated following strict environmental guidelines. The use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers is prohibited. Also taboo: genetic engineering of the seed supply. Cultivating organic cotton uses significantly less water than conventional cotton cultivation and maintains natural soil fertility by means of crop rotation.
Organic cotton farmers are mostly organized into cooperatives.
They are able to set a higher price for their organic cotton which makes them more independent from raw material speculators on the world market.
By purchasing organic cotton, VAUDE contributes to the sustainable development of smaller farms and, as an additional benefit, to the retention of species diversity in the cultivated areas.
Cotton is often grown on large fields. When it is mature, it is usually harvested mechanically; on small farms this is also sometimes done by hand. It is tedious, hard work.
The cotton is packed in rolls and delivered to the spinning mill. Once there, it must be prepared before being spun: the fibers must be cleaned of seeds and leaves. This process is called ginning.
The plant’s individual tufts are linked by the stem. They must be stretched in one direction before spinning at which time they are grouped into fiber ribbons that are then spun into yarns.
Recently, media reports have been piling up regarding cotton from Xinjiang. A significant amount of the cotton grown worldwide comes from this region, and Uyghurs have to perform forced labor in its cultivation.
We strongly condemn this violation of human rights. By using certified organic cotton, we can ensure that there is no cotton from this area in VAUDE products.
GOTS-approved certification bodies also consider the origin of the certified organic fibers during the first manufacturing step based on risk assessment. When there are serious doubts about gross violations, certification bodies are expected to reject the raw materials. For all manufacturing steps that follow, GOTS cotton does not allow the use of forced labor. During the annual independent audits required for certification, social and labor requirements are verified. Additional audits have been carried out by the standard setter in the certified factories in Xinjiang in order to double check compliance with the social requirements of GOTS and to be able to take action if necessary. To date, no irregularities have been reported.
You can read the official statement here.