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Retailers Increasingly Turn to Sustainable Cotton

Oct. 21, 2016, 8:19 PM

Cotton, the most widely used natural fiber, is considered the world’s dirtiest crop because of its heavy use of pesticides—its cultivation accounts for 17.5 percent of global insecticide sales.

So in recent years, several apparel and home-goods companies, including Eileen Fisher, Patagonia and Nike, have used organic cotton, grown by farmers who don’t use pesticides and enrich their soil with compost.

That’s good for the environment but raises another problem: Organic cotton is too expensive for average shoppers. Organic fiber costs as much as $2.20 per pound, compared with about 61 cents per pound for conventional cotton in the 2015-16 ...

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