“We are at a unique stage in our history. Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet, and never before have we had the power to do something about that… The future of humanity and indeed, all life on earth, now depends on us.” – David Attenborough.
From David Attenborough to world leaders, we are hearing that the next decade will determine our ability to sustain life on Earth. Creating a quality product is not enough. Quality is no longer a product of function or form. It needs to reach beyond enhancing the life of its user. A quality product now needs to improve the condition of our planet.
Let’s start with cotton
Conventionally grown cotton is one of the least sustainable crops on earth. A water thirsty crop, GMO cotton makes use of pesticides and insecticides in its production, which contaminate the soil, the air we breathe and the water we drink.
In contrast, the production of organic cotton requires no pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Relying on the wisdom of traditional farming, the health of both the farmers and soil is preserved for future generations. Using up to 90% less water, and relying on more circular and regenerative systems, organic cotton presents a future for more sustainable textile production.
Alarmingly, only 1% of global cotton production is organic. But as manufacturers and consumers we recognise our responsibility to shift the demand.
In 2018 Mungo embarked on a journey to find a supplier of organic cotton. This took them to Turkey where they met Egedeniz – the first Turkish cotton farmers to achieve Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification.
In 2019 they launched their first 100% organic towel, The Aegean, and made the company-wide commitment to convert their entire cotton product range to organic over the next couple of years. In making this decision, they hope to prove to South African farmers, manufacturers, retailers, and the general public that there is a demand for textiles made with organic cotton.
In 2020, amidst a global pandemic, Mungo became the first GOTS-certified mill in South Africa. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the world-leading textile processing standard for organic fibres. It defines the highest level of environmental and social criteria, from harvesting, to socially responsible manufacturing, providing a credible assurance along the entire supply chain.
Over a three-day period, each division of the Mungo Mill in Plettenberg Bay was carefully scrutinised by Control Union – an independent certification body. They were monitored from waste disposal to yarn lots, energy consumption, labour practices and health and safety. Compliance was met across the board, from design and production, right through to their weaving, CMT, finishing, laundry, wholesale and retail departments.