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Nike, Walmart Top US Buyers of Organic Cotton

<p>Global sales of organic cotton apparel and textiles grew 35 percent while organic cotton production increased 20 percent in 2009, says the Organic Exchange.</p>

Global sales of organic cotton apparel and textiles grew by $1 billion in 2009 according to the non-profit Organic Exchange.

The group estimates that global sales jumped by 35 percent from 2008, when sales hit $3.2 billion, to $4.3 billion in 2009. In its recent Organic Cotton Market Report 2009, Organic Exchange lays out the past and future of the organic cotton market.

The sales increase between 2008 and 2009 mirrors the average 40 percent annual growth that the organic cotton apparel and textile market has seen since 2001, when sales were $245 million.

The organic cotton market was primarily driven, Organic Exchange says, by consumer interest, brands and retailers expanding their organic offerings, and by companies launching new organic cotton programs.

From 2005 to 2007, the Organic Exchange named only five companies each year in its list of top organic cotton buyers. In 2008 that list grew to 10 companies, and in 2009 it expanded to 12.

The top organic cotton buyers, in order, from last year, were:

1. C&A
2. Nike, Inc.
3. Walmart/Sam's Club
4. Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
5. H&M
6. Anvil Knitwear
7. Coop
8. Greensource Organic Clothing Co.
9. Levi Strauss & Co.
10. Target
11. Adidas
12. Nordstrom
Organic Exchange notes that organic cotton sales grew while overall cotton clothing and home textiles sales shrunk by seven percent. The group estimates that the organic cotton market will continue to grow 20-40 percent in 2010 and 2011, to $5.1 billion and $6 billion, respectively.

Along with sales, production of organic cotton grew 20 percent, from 145,872 metric tons in 2007/2008 to 175,113 metric tons in 2008/2009.

Cotton - CC license by Flickr user vår resa

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