(Haberberg and Rieple, 2007; Bansal, 2005; Maignan and Ralston, 2002; Hayden, 1993), more companies appear to be joining in the so-called ‘green bandwagon’; the number of UK retailers selling organic cotton is estimated to have increased by 95% from 200 in 2004 to 390 in 2005 (Sanfilippo, 2005). This take-up by retailers appears to be due to escalating media attention as well as awareness of the potential for increased profits from organic products, in part the result of improvements to the firm’s reputation (Walley et al., 2000). A number of recent surveys have pointed out a positive correlation between the selling of ethical products and brand performance (YouGov, 2006 and 2007). Pioneering, ideologically- driven, companies like ‘Gossypium’, ‘People Tree’ ‘Wild Life Works’ and ‘Patagonia’ which sell mainly organic and fair-trade products started in business due to ethical concerns, even though demand in the initial stages was low. Now, larger corporations such as Marks and Spencer, Nike, Next and Reebok are increasingly promoting ethical products, finding that it helps differentiate their offer. These companies’ size and influence, and their formal involvement with the Organic Exchange (a US-based organisation that promotes and researches organic production methods) and similar agencies, such as Pesticides Action Network, Greenpeace, FiBL (the German Research Institute for Organic Agriculture) which promote the cause of the environment in general and organic products in particular, institutionalises organic cotton further into the mainstream retail environment (Haberberg et al., 2009). Governments, particularly in Europe, are also stimulating support for organic production. The use of incentives and taxes to reduce the use of chemicals in farming in Germany and Sweden are recent examples of positive interventions (OTA, 2007). A Delphi study conducted by the University of Cambridge (Allwood et al., 2006) found that participants expected environmental practices to be increasingly forced through by legislation or other intervention by governments. This is likely to bring prices down as subsidies or regulation encourage participation and increase the entry of new competitors. 5.2 Factors preventing the growth of the organic cotton industry Although there are a number of forces encouraging the move to organic production, other forces counteract these. Prices of organic cotton garments are still too high to encourage the migration of the mass market to them. On average in 2007, a fully 7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48
certified organic cotton t-shirt was priced at $44 2 , nearly three times more than a conventional cotton t-shirt. There is also, still, a lack of awareness of the consequences of the different production methods. An understanding of these, although increasing (Garibay and Jyoti, 2003) is still some way off reaching saturation. Our data gathering in India in 2007 found that the majority of farmers and
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