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Everlane Is Ditching Conventional Cotton—Here’s When It’ll Make the Switch

Everlane is going organic.

The San Francisco brand announced Monday that it will only be using certified-organic cotton by 2023 in an effort to cut back on hazardous chemicals used to grow conventional cotton.

Conventional cotton uses more toxic pesticides per acre than any other crop and is “harming the planet,” Everlane said in a statement. “Those chemicals are stripping the land of nutrients, contaminating our water and endangering the people who grow the cotton.”

The company will begin its transition on March 24, when it will debut a T-shirt made with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-certified organic cotton grown and milled in India’s Madhya Pradesh region. Why GOTS? It’s the “most stringent organic-textile certification in the world,” Everlane said.

A T-shirt was also the “radically transparent” firm’s first offering when it launched in 2011. “Everlane started in 2011 by reinventing the cotton T-shirt: high-quality, transparently priced, and ethically made,” it said.

Cotton, it notes, currently makes up 74 percent of its range of elevated basics, which includes shirts, sweaters, denim, jackets, shoes and underwear for men and women.

In Oct. 2018, Everlane pledged to eliminate all virgin plastic from its supply chain by 2021, kicking off its commitment with a line of outerwear derived from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.

The following year, the brand rolled out ReDown, a collection of recycled polyester puffers stuffed with reclaimed feathers from old duvets and pillows. “Our long-term goal is to minimize our use of virgin materials where we can,” Kimberley Smith, general manager of apparel at Everlane, told Sourcing Journal at the time.

Global production of organic cotton fiber reached 180,971 metric tons in 2017/2018, the highest volume seen since 2009/2010 when the financial crisis led to a “dramatic decline,” according to sustainability nonprofit Textile Exchange in its 2019 Organic Cotton Market Report. It expects growth to continue apace as India, Tanzania, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan and China shift more areas of cotton-growing land to organic production.

GOTS-certified facilities are also on the ascent. This month, GOTS said the number of approved factories jumped by 35 percent in 2019 from 5,760 in 70 countries to 7,765. “The enormous growth shows that GOTS successfully serves as sustainable solution from certified organic fiber to finished product,” Claudia Kersten, GOTS managing director, told Sourcing Journal.