Swedish fashion retailer H&M was ranked as the world's number one user of organic cotton last year - taking it closer to its goal of only using cotton from more sustainable sources by 2020.

In 2010 H&M used around 15,000 tonnes of organic cotton - a marked increase from previous years - putting it in pole position among brands and retailers using the fibre, according to the latest report on the Global Sustainable Textiles Market Report, which is produced each year by Textile Exchange.

The report provides the organic cotton and sustainable textile market with estimates for the preceding year, while identifying trends and market leaders and providing market projections for the year to come.  

"The intention is to gradually use more organic cotton as part of our target to only use more sustainable cotton by 202," says Henrik Lampa, CSR manager product at H&M. "We want to further contribute towards increased demand for organic cotton and motivate farmers for sustainable cotton cultivation."

H&M has been using certified organic cotton since 2004 and since 2007 there are garments made with 100 percent organic cotton in all departments, as well as some made from 50% organic cotton and 50% conventional cotton.

It has also been involved with the Better Cotton Initiative, which works to improve conventional cotton growing while reducing water and chemical use.

According to the '2010 Global Market Report on Sustainable Textiles,' which was detailed on just-style yesterday (6 September), other top users of organic cotton are C&A, Nike, Inditex (Zara), Adidas, Greensource, Anvil Knitwear, Target, Disney Consumer Products, and Otto Group.

It also shows the sector grew by 20% to an estimated $5.61bn in 2010 - and projects the global organic cotton market will increase another 20% in 2011 to result in an estimated $6.2bn market in 2011 and $7.4bn market in 2012.