In April 2019 Ethical Consumer sent One Village requiring information on the company's cotton sourcing policy, among other issues. In May 2019 Ethical Consumer sent the company an email with additional questions.
In its answers One Village said that:
• The company and its partners were aware of the situation of cotton production in Uzbekistan. Its partners had confirmed to One Village that they were confident they were avoiding cotton produced in Uzbekistan and it was against their policy to source products originating in places or systems regarded as unethical. It would, however, be difficult to say with absolute certainty that some of its partners in Bangladesh who bought raw cotton in the marketplace did not buy cotton produced in Uzbekistan.
• Some of the company’s cotton was organically grown. The company would have preferred to be 100% organic, but found that using the more expensive organic cotton made some products unsaleable. It also considered that sourcing organic cotton in some instances involved haulage issues that would undo the environmental benefits of using organic cotton.
• The company did not have a policy on the use of GM crops but all its partners were aware of the social and environmental problems related to cotton and actively sought to do right.
• The company used quite small quantities of cotton. A search of its online shop, however, showed that cotton was used in many of its textile products.
The company was considered to have a sufficiently strong policy against sourcing cotton from Uzbekistan and lost no marks in the Workers Rights category.
The Organic Trade Association website, www.ota.com, stated in July 2018 that cotton covered roughly 2.78% of global arable land, but accounted for 12.34% of all insecticide sales and 3.94% of herbicide sales. Due to the impacts of the widespread use of pesticides in non-organic cotton production worldwide the company lost half a mark in the Pollution & Toxics category.
According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), a non-profit pro biotech organisation, genetically modified cotton accounted for 80% of cotton grown in 2017. Due to the prevalence of GM cotton in cotton supply chains and the lack of any evidence that the company avoided it, it was assumed that some of the company's cotton products contained some GM material. As a result it lost half a mark under the Controversial Technology category.
One World Best Buy Questionnaire (28 April 2019)