Fashion retailer H&M is testing an organic cotton blend in its childrenswear ranges, which will be in shops worldwide from autumn/winter 2004.
H&M environmental co-ordinator Henric Lampa said the initiative was part of the retailer's corporate responsibility programme and was in response to increasing customer awareness about the chemicals and pesticides used in growing cotton.
The garments will not be labelled organic to begin with and will not be certified organic. However, if the trial is successful the retailer could start producing clothes with 100 per cent organic cotton.
'We will start now with this trial and aim for a certain amount to be blended into our garments. It is not such a big volume, but the total amount of organic cotton on the world market is very low, so we are hopefully sending a signal to the cultivators to grow more organic cotton,' said Lampa.
The garments will be sourced and produced in Turkey.
Marks & Spencer's first 100 per cent organic cotton collection arrived in 10 shops on February 12. Under the banner of its sportswear brand View From, the five-piece yoga range is made from Agrocel Pure & Fair cotton and sourced by UK-based clothing brand Gossypium.
M&S sustainable development assistant Katie Stafford said the retailer was preparing itself for increased customer awareness. 'Shoppers will start asking questions about organic cotton soon. But it's also about creating sustainable development,' she said.