The Human Side of Organic Mattresses
The Human Side of Organic MattressesEvery purchased product, even if mass produced, was made by somebody with materials gathered or processed by real people.
Naturepedic always remembers that, even when sourcing materials. I am fortunate to know and interact with the real people who build Naturepedic organic mattresses. Most of the manufacturing team is made up of Amish men and women possessing considerable skills, and it’s impressive to watch these craftspeople build mattresses. With an office just outside of the manufacturing floor, I see the process frequently.
That said, although we make our mattresses here in Ohio, even coiling our own springs and then hand assembling them with organic cotton encasements one at a time, we still bring in raw materials like organic cotton, latex, wool and wood.
We don’t have our own live sheep at this point.
Did you know the organic certifications we offer for our mattresses and materials also take into account the human, animal and environmental impacts related to those materials long before our mattresses are even made?
As a writer for Naturepedic, I generally focus on the end user benefits of a certified organic mattress, such as not being exposed to toxic flame retardants. There are, however, other aspects of responsibility that are near to my heart that do not get mentioned.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the standard to which Naturepedic mattresses and our entire manufacturing facility are certified, ensures that crops are grown and harvested without GMOs and toxic pesticides and fertilizers, but it goes beyond that.
GOTS also examines the harvesting and processing of those materials and how it affects the soil, wildlife, insects, and the humans who gather and make the materials. In other words, GOTS looks at the entire global impact.
The global cotton industry alone is responsible for some of the worst human rights violations anywhere. A 2007 report from the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) in collaboration with Pesticide Action Network UK found that six of the seven largest cotton producing nations regularly employ child labor, often under the most grueling circumstances.
For GOTS-certified cotton (and any agricultural products), crops must be harvested through employment freely chosen, and all levels of the product must be made without child labor in a safe and hygienic working area. Our mattresses use USDA-certified organic cotton grown in Texas, so we already have a huge step up using USA-grown cotton compared to mattresses made in other countries with lax human rights standards.
GOTS-certified organic cotton also doesn't use the synthetic pesticides of conventional cotton.
The EJF report mentioned above estimates that cotton covers only 2.5% of the world's cultivated land yet used 16% of the world's insecticides. The report found in India, a remarkable 54% of the country’s pesticides were used on cotton, which occupies a little less than 5% of land use under crops!
These figures are just for the growing and harvesting phases, but the processing phase can also pose threats to workers and the planet. GOTS-certified cotton cannot be processed with the same harsh chemicals used in traditional cotton that are so detrimental. The certification looks at the whole process, from planting to processing.
Sourcing of organic latex foam, where rubber sap can be harvested from trees growing in countries without the same level of human rights afforded us in this country, requires even more vigilance for human rights. Our latex is independently certified to the Global Organic Latex Standard, or GOLS. Like GOTS, GOLS certification requires the latex be harvested responsibly, with workers treated fairly.
Additionally, it means rubber sap is harvested in a sustainable fashion with minimal environmental impact.
The Big, Sustainable Picture
Like GOTS, we strive to take a “big picture” approach in looking at overall planetary impact. Certified organic wool certified to GOTS, for example, must come from sheep raised humanely. But that’s not all. Even the wood we use to build our mattress frames has received certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to guarantee it was harvested in a sustainable and responsible manner.
We make you the safest, healthiest mattresses we can possibly make, and you can rest easy knowing that. We hope you’ll also feel better knowing your mattress was made with respect for the planet overall and the people, plants and animals living there.