What does kbA mean?
kbA = kontrolliert biologischer Anbau (Certified Organic Cultivation)
- Crop rotation farming with no synthetic fertilisers
- Biological pest control without the use of pesticides
- No cultivation of genetically modified plants
The following also applies to organic cotton:
- Hand harvesting without the use of defoliators
- Farmer’s social standards are ensured
- Fair prices and purchase conditions are followed
Currently less than 0.2% of the world’s cotton is cultivated using organic practices. With such a low percentage, one may wonder why ‘kbA/Bio’ appears so often. Reputable companies will be able to produce a certificate to support their organic practices.
If in doubt, simply ask for more information. Trust is good and controls are necessary as this report demonstrates.
There are many factors that dictate the higher prices of textiles made from certified organic cotton so it is important to have trust in the manufacturer to ensure the quality expected.
The German term “kontrolliert biologischer Anbau” is not a protected term so it may be used freely and the question remains as to what qualifies as ‘organic’. The term kbA only has any significance when used in conjunction with statutes of the supervisory authorities. Most reputable companies use the EU regulation EEC No. 2092/91 which encompasses full controls over the entire production chain.
While this control is easy enough to manage in the EU, it is quite another matter when it comes to foreign trade. Full documentation of cotton textiles, from the seeds all the way to the export to Germany, is required in the countries of origin. This is quite a laborious undertaking and means that only a few organisations can provide reliable certification documents.
Amongst them are the Dutch Skal and the Swiss Institute for Marketecology (IMO).
Another Swiss company, Remei AG, runs its own projects in the countries of origin with over 1 400 small holders and is itself inspected by Bio Inspecta. Remei is the European market leader in the trade of organic yarns.
DIDYMOS procures a large amount of its yarns from well-known manufacturers such as Bühler Schweiz who, as part of the BioRe sales group and managed by Remei AG, only sell yarns made from organic certified natural fibres. Only a small amount of fibres come from other German and Austria weavers, but they must all include a Skal or an IMO certificate for each and every batch of raw materials.