Top 10 Buyers of Organic Cotton (You Won't Believe Who's No. 1!)

Cotton boll photo

Photo credit: Gene Bowker

Despite the lagging global retail market, international retail sales of organic cotton apparel and home-textile products soared to an estimated $3.2 billion in 2008, according to Organic Exchange's Organic Cotton Market Report 2007-2008, a hefty 63 percent increase from 2007's $1.9 billion market.

Likewise, the amount of organic cotton farmers grew worldwide in 2007-2008 jumped 152 percent, notes the O'Donnell, Texas-based non-profit, resulting in 145,872 metric tons grown on 161,000 hectares in 22 countries. But which brands and retailers are snapping up all that inventory? Click on through for answers that may surprise you.

10. Hessnatur (Germany)

Hessnatur photo

Photo credit: Hessnatur

Founded 30 years ago by German environmentalist Heinz Hess, Hessnatur crafts its mens, women's, and children's collections from organic cotton, silk, linen, and wool. Eschewing dyes, finishes, or chemicals that are detrimental to the environment, Hessnatur works with the Clean Clothes Campaign and the Fair Wear Foundation to maintain the highest standards regarding working conditions and wages.

9. Greensource (USA)

Greensource photo
Photo credit: Greensource

Recession? What recession? Greensource, the U.S. manufacturer of organic cotton apparel in the world recently reported a 21 percent increase in its first-quarter earnings. The company, which opened a new office and showroom in New York City this year, credits its success to a growing demand for certified-organic cotton denim and T-shirts.

8. Pottery Barn (USA)

Pottery Barn photo
Photo credit: Pottery Barn

The furniture and home accessories big-box retailer started carrying organic cotton bedding and bath towels in 2007 to capture the burgeoning post-Inconvenient Truth demographic. Today, more than half of Pottery Barn's bedding contains at least 5 percent organic, Oeko-Tex-certified fiber.

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