Is there a solution to the environmental effects of the water-consuming cotton industry? The film “For the Love of Fashion” suggests that organic cotton farming would make a difference for the environment. For the 60-minute documentary, German fashion retailer C&A and the National Geographic Channel teamed with explorer and filmmaker Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of oceanography pioneer Jacques Cousteau. Cousteau, an expert on environmental water issues, investigates the conditions of cotton production in India, the United States and Germany and talks to nongovernmental organizations and experts such as the World Wide Fund, the Aga Khan Foundation and organic cotton farmers.
Cotton production is widely known as one of the most environmental hazardous agricultural fields: While only 2.4 percent of the cropland in the world is used for cotton, 24 percent of total insecticide sales and 11 percent of total pesticides sales go into the industry.
C&A has engaged in organic cotton productions since 2004 and is socially active via the C&A Foundation. The retailer cofounded CottonConnect, a charity working on sustainable cotton programs with corporations such as Inditex, Kering and Burberry. According to Textile Exchange, the German company was the biggest buyer of organic cotton worldwide in 2014. Forty percent of its sales in 2015, corresponding to 130 million products, are products made of organic cotton, the company said.
Asked about the prices, a C&A spokesperson told WWD: “The price calculation is in the hand of the company. We don’t want to make our customer feel that they need more money to consume sustainably and offer organic products at the same price like conventional products. It’s a corporate decision to relinquish a higher margin. The purchase is higher and there are certification costs, but the more products sell, the less expensive they are, a classic economies of scale effect.”
The documentary will first air on the National Geographic Channel today in Portugal and Italy, with consecutive airings in the rest of Europe, Asia and Latin America until May 27. Dates and times are published on the National Geographic Channel.
“A film documentary is a great way to make a very complex subject accessible to a lot of people. We hope this movie will incentivize people to discuss the matter of organic cotton and its ecologic effects. It will air in 23 countries in the respective languages, and for us, it’s also a way to reach and educate our own employees,” C&A said.