“FONT face=Verdana size=2>In its annual Organic Market Report released today, The Soil Association, which has now integrated the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) into its own criteria, says sales of organic products are a fast-growing segment of the £30 billion UK clothing and textiles market, exceeding £100 million in 2008 for the first time. “.”FONT face=Verdana size=2>“Although precise figures are not available for the size of the UK market for organic cotton, best estimates point to sales of £60–65 million in 2007 and £85–90 million in 2008 – an annual growth rate of around 40%,” said the report, “when sales of other organic fibres such as wool and linen are taken into account, the market adds up to £100 million – a 25% increase on 2007.””.”FONT face=Verdana size=2>Over 150 retail shops and over 250 web outlets now sell organic textile products in the UK with Marks & Spencer and New Look selling 3.4 million organic items between them in 2008. Perhaps a surprise to some, New Look sold 2.3 million of these items – a 50% increase on 2007. Organic cotton now accounts for 4.2% of its womenswear, compared to 3% in 2007.”.”FONT face=Verdana size=2>“I believe that as more people offer organic cotton, the need from customers to understand the certification involved will become greater,” says Anna Greig, Organic Buyer at New Look. “There will be a growing need for responsible retailers to offer organic cotton certified by a reputable organisation such as the Soil Association.””.”FONT face=Verdana size=2>Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer sold 1.1 million organic cotton items in 2008 – more than five times the volume sold in the previous year. “It sees organic cotton as a ‘gold standard’ for sustainable clothing in the future alongside a more mainstream ‘silver standard’ – cotton produced under integrated pest management as a result of the Better Cotton Initiative,” said the report”…….