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The Ethical Buyer’s Guide to Fair Trade Cotton Sheets

In this age of globally-produced goods, consumers have begun to think more carefully about the products they purchase: how they’re made, where they’re produced, and the impact they have on local environments and communities. This is especially true when it comes to buying products made with labor-intensive materials, like cotton.

Fortunately, responsible cotton producers have made significant strides to improve not only their practices, but also transparency around the process. For those who want to use their purchasing power for good, there are a number of things to know before buying sheets.

Fair Trade Bedding: Making a Difference in Developing Nations

A relatively new concept, fair trade is a loosely organized social movement aimed at helping producers make a better profit, promote sustainable farming, and improve social, economic, and environmental standards. The designation is mostly relevant to the developing world, of which cotton manufacturing leaders like India, Pakistan, and Brazil are a part.

However, since the term itself is generally unregulated, it's easy for unscrupulous manufacturers to misuse it in an attempt to attract conscientious buyers. Therefore, it’s important to look for a stamp, logo, or seal from a legitimate fair trade organization, like Fairtrade International and Fair Trade USA. These agencies certify cotton and other products grown in 70 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean.

When you choose bedding made with certified fair trade cotton, you’ll be taking a step to improving the working and economic conditions of communities around the world.

Working to Hold American Cotton to a Higher Standard

Because fair trade is a designation intended for developing nations only, it isn’t exactly relevant to buyers of US-grown cotton sheets. Conscientious consumers looking for sheets made of ethically grown American cotton should instead consider the farm the cotton was grown on. This will reveal how the cotton was grown and whether the farmers employed responsible practices to:

      • Improve water conservation

      • Decrease fossil fuel consumption

      • Minimize carbon footprint

      • Support fair labor practices

Unlike the cotton in most sheets, the pima cotton in PimaCott can be traced back to the exact farm it was grown on — in California’s San Joaquin Valley. 

Unlike the cotton in most sheets, the pima cotton in PimaCott can be traced back to the exact farm it was grown on — in California’s San Joaquin Valley. There, local farmers proudly produce their pima in accordance with strict environmental, social, and sustainable standards. When considering any cotton producers’ or retailers’ commitment to positive impact, look for this level of transparency and dedication.

Beginning with the Best Cotton

The heightened interest in fair trade sheets and responsibly sourced materials has increased the potential for consumers to fall prey to misleading labeling. And because the process for creating linens is incredibly complex, there are numerous points at which a dishonest producer may dilute fabric with subpar cotton. For this reason, it’s crucial to demand a product that doesn’t only claim to be held to a higher standard — but also has the paperwork to prove it.

PimaCott’s revolutionary tracking system monitors its pima from the farm to the store. This ensures it's never blended or diluted throughout production. So you know you’re getting premium quality, authentic materials, and conscientious farming practices you can see, feel, and most importantly, trust.