The social and environmental "costs" of Fairtrade cotton farming are five times lower than conventional production, a study suggests.
Research by the Fairtrade Foundation measured the environmental and social impacts of cotton growing on rural households in India, one of the biggest producers of cotton.
It showed the social costs of Fairtrade farming methods were 97% lower and environmental costs were 31% lower than conventional production.
Combined, the costs were five times lower than conventional cotton production.
Fairtrade farmers have seen social benefits of more income from the Fairtrade premiums for cotton, fair wages and investment in local schools, and lower social costs associated with practices such as child labour.
Cotton grown by Fairtrade farmers also has a lower environmental footprint in terms of water use and pollution, soil pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions.
Fairtrade cotton's cost in terms of land use was a little high, as the yield from organic cotton per acre is lower than conventional production, the report said.
The Fairtrade Foundation hopes its valuation tool will help fashion brands make their businesses more resilient and be more accountable for the environmental and social impacts of the multibillion-pound clothing and textile industry.
See our Essential Organic Cotton range here