Organic Textiles – Growth in a Down Economy

January 16, 2009 by editor 

Commentary by Ed Mass, President and Founder
We’ll look at some numbers in a second but first some personal experience. I have an online store for organic, fair labor, and eco friendly goods including clothing, bedding, and other organic and eco textiles. During the fall holiday season of 2008 several of my suppliers actually ran out of stock.


Okay, you may be thinking they didn’t do a good job of calculating how much they’d need. Here’s the rub. They ordered 100% to 150% more than they did the previous year. That’s in a very down economy. Prices of these goods aren’t at the very low end of the scale either. I’d say that’s great growth.

Remember, this isn’t organic food which has gotten a lot of notice. I’m talking about organic and eco friendly textiles including certified organic cotton, certified organic wool, hemp, and bamboo.

It shows an increasing number of people are becoming conscious of the impact on the environment of their everyday purchases. And their willing to make changes.

Now for some interesting numbers. Be patient. You’ll be amazed by the conclusion (but don’t peak). The amount of organic cotton farmers grew worldwide in 2007/2008 increased 152 percent. This is according to a report by Organic Exchange, title “Organic Cotton Farm and Fiber Report 2008.” The report included organic cotton production in 22 countries.

The top ten organic cotton producing countries in order by rank were India, Syria, Turkey, China, Tanzania, USA, Uganda, Peru, Egypt and Burkina Faso. India took over the number one position which Turkey had held for quite some time. The majority of the increased organic cotton production took place in India.

That was the foundation for this next amazing statistic. Organic cotton production has grown to an estimated 0.55 percent of global cotton production. That’s all. Even with the above seemingly large increase, and the number of countries growing organic cotton, it’s still a tiny fraction of all cotton. That means we’ve got a very long road, or vast opportunity, to make significant inroads into reducing the huge environmental harm from non-organic cotton farming.

And where does the U.S. stand in regard to its organic cotton production as a percentage of worldwide organic cotton production? According to the Organic Trade Association, it’s only 2.1%. That’s one reason that U.S. grown organic cotton is sometimes hard to find.

Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers or genetically modified seeds.

Ed Mass is President and Founder of Yes It’s Organic (, an online store for Organic, Fair Labor, and Eco Friendly goods including adult to baby clothing, bedding, towels, mattresses, organic logo wear and promotional products for organizations wanting to improve their environmental footprint, and sustainable furniture. After being an environmentalist for over 40 years he decided to participate more directly in growing the organic, fair labor and eco friendly industries by educating consumers and influencing their buying habits.


Our Mission: Use the power of the Internet to sell, educate, and promote the growth of Organic, Fair Labor, and Eco Friendly production and trade while providing healthy living for people and a healthy environment for the planet.

Yes It’s Organic is not just about developing a business. It’s about developing a business around a common passion that I hear from a growing chorus of voices - healthy living and acting in a way that’s healthy for the environment.

Starting Yes It’s Organic has combined an over 45 year passion for protecting the environment and healthy living with an opportunity to influence the lives of others and our planet in a positive way.

I was designing super-insulated housing and solar energy systems for residences and doing energy audits for businesses in the 1970s. President Carter was promoting and building up these activities after the oil crises in 1973-1974. Then President Reagan totally stopped all activity and funding for all projects.

Imagine where we’d be today if those alternative energy projects had continued with full government support the way that nuclear, oil and gas are subsidized through many avenues. We would already be an energy independent nation today, or at least enough independent not to be at the economic mercy of other nations.

With the growth of the organic food awareness and the “green” movement for “green” buildings and goods, I felt it was time to rekindle my earlier passions. It was time to become, once again, entrenched in the growth of an environmental consciousness.

This time, I decided to be at the forefront of moving people’s consciousness toward the connections of our textiles, such as clothing, sheets, and blankets, as well as our furniture, to the quality of our soil, air, and water.

There is nothing more important than the food we eat, the soil in which it’s grown, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. Without healthy food, soil, air, and water, we won’t have life itself. That’s the philosophy which is driving us to develop the store.

That’s the philosophy behind all our actions. Let us know where we can do better.


Make Current


One Response to “Organic Textiles – Growth in a Down Economy”

  1. Ambassador of Green on January 18th, 2009 3:01 pm

    Excellent , i really like First Person stuff like this. Thank-you Ed Mass, for a very insightful read.

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