In November 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed the Neal's Yard website and saw that it sold some cotton towels that were made from 100% certified organic cotton. At the time of writing these were currently listed as "Out of Stock" but it was not stated whether they were discontinued.

According to Anti-Slavery International (ASI) website viewed by Ethical Consumer in August 2018, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan were two of the world’s largest exporters of cotton, and every year their governments forcibly mobilised over one million citizens to grow and harvest cotton.

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.

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.

As the company only used certified organic cotton, it likely to have avoided these issues; overall the company received Ethical Consumer's best rating for its cotton sourcing policy.

Reference:

www.nealsyardremedies.com (10 February 2020)

In November 2020 Ethical Consumer received a completed questionnaire from Neal's Yard which contained a response to a question on the use of GM ingredients.
Neal's Yard stated: "We do not use GM ingredients, all non-certified organic ingredients meet the Soil Association Standard non-GM requirement and are annually screened."
This was considered a positive approach to the use of genetic engineering.

Reference:

Ethical Consumer Questionnaire (November 2020)