At Herdy we are always thinking about how to do the right thing, including how we source the raw materials in our products, such as organic cotton. Whether this means working with British artisans in our Herdycountry range, using water-based inks in our printing materials, or paying Lake District farmers a fair price for their wool in our Herdysleep mattresses, doing the right thing is a core aspect of Herdy.

It’s why we won the BITC (Business In The Community) Small Company of the Year award in 2010, re-accredited in 2011 and 2012.

It’s what makes us smile.

Ethical fashion and clothing

Our Herdy Baby Grow with a Herdy Baby Hat and Embroidered Baby Grow and three Baby Herdys

The clothing and fashion industry increasingly faces pressing questions about sustainable raw materials, fair treatment of workers in developing countries, and the environmental burden created by modern clothing manufacturing.

When we redesigned our Herdybaby range in 2016 we faced these pressing questions head on, and felt that same sense of responsibility to do the right thing. That’s why we teamed up with a Sri Lankan textiles manufacturer who are fully Garments Without Guilt certified.

To be Garments Without Guilt certified, factories must be:

  • Free of Child Labour
  • Free of Forced Labour
  • Free of Discrimination
  • Free of Sweatshop Practices

Today we are delighted to announce that we’ve gone even further.

All of our Herdybaby clothes are now made from 100% GOTS certified organic cotton.

Is organic cotton actually better?

Yes.

Organic cotton is grown in ways that reduce the burden on our environment, helps maintain soil fertility, encourages greater bio diversity, and uses much less water.

The main benefit, however, is that the crops aren’t treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and Genetically Modified Organisms, as they are harmful for farmers, workers, customers, and wildlife eco-systems.

Less than four percent of all cotton grown globally is organic.

Cotton in West Tennessee, photo by Edgar Pierce (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

Conventionally-grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other crop in the world, using up to an estimated 25% of the world’s insecticides annually and more than 10% of the world’s pesticides.

Pesticides poison farmers all over the world, and factory workers breathe in their fumes during the manufacturing process. According to the World Health Organization up to 20,000 deaths each year are caused by pesticide poisoning. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also found that pesticides kill at least 67 million birds annually in the U.S.

Pesticides and insecticides mix into run-off water after heavy rain, contaminating lakes, rivers, and waterways. Pesticide residue has been increasingly discovered in foods, farm animals, and even breast milk.

How is GOTS certified organic cotton better?

Cotton growing in field with blue skies above

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is an independently certified, worldwide textile processing standard for organic fibres throughout the entire textile supply chain. It covers the processing, manufacturing, packaging, labelling, trading, and distribution of all textiles made from at least 70% certified organic natural fibres.

In order for products to be labelled as GOTS certified “organic” they must be made with a minimum of 95% certified fibres.

Our Herdybaby clothes are made with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton.

GOTS certification requires that, throughout the entire harvesting and production chain, the three stringent criteria of Environmental, Technical Quality & Human Toxicity, and Social are met. The entire criteria that must be met for certification is extensive. But to give you an idea of the sort of stringent standards that need to be met, here’s a small sample:

Environmental

  • No use of toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, functional nano particles, genetically modified organisms (GMO) and their enzymes;
  • Bleaches must be oxygen based (no chlorine bleaching);
  • The waste water from all wet processing units must be treated in a waste water treatment plant;
  • At all stages through the processing, organic fibre products must be separated from conventional fibre products and must be clearly identified;
  • Azo dyes that release carcinogenic amine compounds are prohibited;
  • No PVC, nickel or chrome accessories permitted.

Technical Quality & Human Toxicity

  • Raw materials, intermediates, final textile products as well as accessories must meet stringent limits regarding unwanted residues;
  • Technical quality parameters must be met (eg. abrasion, light and washing fastness and shrinkage values).

Social

  • Employment is freely chosen – no forced labour;
  • Child labour prohibited;
  • Living wages must be paid;
  • Equal pay for men and women;
  • Working hours are not excessive and weekly rest is respected;
  • No discrimination is practised;
  • Harsh or inhumane treatment is prohibited.

GOTS Certification includes and supersedes the Garments Without Guilt certification.

A Herdy Baby Top & Pants set, with an orange Baby Herdy in between

GOTS certified, eco-friendly organic clothing

At Herdy we take our environmental responsibilities seriously, so we’re always looking at ways to improve our supply chain, the raw materials we use, and the way we package products, to ensure our collective burden on the environment is minimised as much as possible.

That’s why we look to work with like-minded suppliers, partners, and manufacturers. Developing high-quality, beautiful garments and clothes that are organic, ethical, and eco-friendly also ensures our products have as long life as possible.

So when you buy a baby grow from our Herdy Baby range, you enable us and our manufacturers to continue producing GOTS certified organic cotton products, which are better for the environment, healthier for farmers and workers, longer lasting, and nicer to wear for you and your la’al ’uns.

Products mentioned in this post

Get an embroidered Herdy baby grow!