Fairtrade Ideas for Schools in Fairtrade Fortnight – Newsletter

We have decided to post copies of our newsletters which we email out to our supporters. This one was designed to let our customers know about some our our new supplies which we hope they might be interested in.

We love supporting Fairtrade and our range is ever increasing.

The newsletter includes Fairtrade and organic T Shirts, Tea Towels, Tote Bags – all plain ready for printing with fabric pencils or pens by school children.  If we are sent photographs of any final results we will create a gallery on our blog of the resulting designs.  Maybe rustle up a Fairtrade prize or two!

Our new supplies with Fairtrade Fortnight in Mind
Our new supplies with Fairtrade Fortnight in Mind

Change Your Shoes

I have become addicted to YouTube.  Second only to The Guardian and The BBC website. How come the internet can become so addictive?  I am reasonably confident that in the future I will not look back, sigh fondly and think “I’m so pleased I looked at the news incessantly”.   However……YouTube is the new thing for me.  We are developing our own channel and while meandering around the eclectic, sprawling, enlightening, frightening, unpleasant, inspiring range of videos,  I came across this one – Change Your Shoes.

There is an app to support it so that I could go on a virtual march to Brussels. At the end of the campaign there will be a petition asking EU policy makers to prioritise regulating the shoe industry. When we purchase clothing, shoes, food, anything really, it is so easy to just not even think about how they were made and who made them. Sometimes we want to close our eyes and shut down our curiosity because the whole world seems such a crazy, barbaric, place and it can feel overwhelming.   Especially if you watch as much news channels as I do – the bad stuff gets all the headlines.

But I can make a difference.  Watching this video made me feel positive.  Because it reminded me – if I ask a few questions when I buy things, is this local produce when I eat in a restaurant? Who made these shoes and what do you know about them? How were these handbags made, who made them?   Its not enough that they look or taste beautiful – who made them, how they were treated, what they are made of, has an influence on how beautiful they really are.

What Daisy Did is a local company who really do know who make their handbags.  I have a bag and a purse and two of my friends following Christmas have bags and my niece a purse.  These bags really are beautiful inside and out – whenever someone says “I love your bag Susan” I immediately launch into the sustainable, ethical, story behind each of them.

Here at Cotton Roots our range of Fairtrade clothing and textiles is also beautiful and fascinating to me. I adore knowing where the cotton came from – Pratima Organic Growers Group in Odisha India, that Sreeranga has organised our order for us, that Armstrong Knitting Mills spun the cotton for us, that Suvastra made the items for us.

Our new delivery of Fairtrade tea towels and Fairtrade shopping bags thrill me.

Sign up for the virtual march to Brussels on the app here 

 

New – Fairtrade Certified Shopping Bags

Yes! We have added to our Cotton Roots  Fairtrade range of  products.

With Fairtrade Fortnight fast approaching I thought to myself – shall we take the plunge and have some shoppers made for us – and decided Yes!  It’s is always exciting to me when we take that jump and add that extra item to our range.

Our bags will be plain and ready for us to print for our customers with their design.

Cotton Shopper

The Cotton Roots shopping bags will be made of 100% Fairtrade certified cotton and will be organic cotton as well.  We have had a number of requests from some of our customers for a while now, so we will stock bags 37cm x 42cm with a 65cm handle.

When customers want Fairtrade certified bags at a specific size, we will be able to make them to order.  If ordered in larger quantities we will be able to reduce the price.

Fairtrade & Organic bags made to order for customers

The cotton for our new Fairtrade certified bags is grown by Pratima Organic Growers Group in India.  Sreeranga has organised the swift manufacture of them so we receive them in January – in plenty of time for Fairtrade Fornight – more information here.

T Shirt Fairtrade desiged by school childrenIn previous years primary schools have ordered white Fairtrade certified t-shirts and children have designed pictures to be printed on the front.

We hope that this year our shopping bags might be suitable and we may even offer tea towels.  Mmmmm – I am thinking – shall we take the next jump and stock these too?

 

The People Who Grow the Cotton for our Fairtrade & Organic Clothing

I thought you might  like to know about the people who plant, care for and harvest the cotton which we use in our Cotton Roots clothing.  After all that’s what Fairtrade is all about – having a connection and supporting people at the start of the cotton chain – the farmers.

The reasons I love Fairtrade and consider it the “Gold Ribband” of ethical certification is because I know where every step of the manufacturing chain takes place.  Including the cotton farmers, the weavers, knitting mill, dyers and manufacturer of the actual garments.

The cotton for our range of Fairtrade and Organic Polo Shirts, T Shirts, Hoodies, and Tea Towels is all grown in the Indian state of Odisha by Pratima Organic Growing Group.

The cotton for our Cotton Roots clothing grown by Pratima Growers group
The cotton for our Cotton Roots clothing grown by Pratima Growers Group

We work closely with Sreeranga (Ranga), who is on the centre left picture above. Ranga often spends time with the cotton farmers and is vital to create the link between you, our supporters and customers, our team at Cotton Roots and the cotton farmers.

The cotton farmers have a Facebook page and I thought it would be a great idea to let our customers know about it.  Maybe you can contact them and thank them for their top quality cotton? Or post some photographs showing the clothes you have which has been made with their cotton? This is the Pratima Facebook page.

Go on make the connection to the people who grew the cotton for you and who you try to support through Fairtrade.

Really enjoyed this article written by Sureel Singh who is a Fairtrade Liaison Officer and worked with the farmers. Transformation journey for Pratima Cotton growers.  It gives a really good insight into the project and the great progress being made.

 

Hanslope Wallaby at Work! What?

Our premises are on the beautiful Rose Lane Farm in Hanslope.   A stunning place to work.

We see hares, a little owl nest in the neighbouring tree, buzzards, kites, rabbits, mice, frogs, and sky larks,  In fact Roy Courtesan takes great care to leave space clear within certain fields for the skylarks, and maintains paths for ramblers.

We approach work on a long drive through wheat fields.  But today there was a visitor to the fields.  A group of ramblers spotted a albino wallaby in the top field!  Hanslope village has a wallaby.

Here is the video they took.  http://bcove.me/mpjqr9vb  (Sorry about the advert for the first few seconds I couldn’t get a video without it).

Hanslope Wallaby

Well.  I am excited to say the least.

I have dug out my binoculars and sent a text to the rest of the team.  Tomorrow we will have a break from work and go wallaby watching.  After you only live once, and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Yup a wallaby at work – not a wally.

Can’t wait.

Are businesses doing enough to encourage sustainability?

“Business sustainability, also known as corporate sustainability, is the management and coordination of environmental, social and financial demands and concerns to ensure responsible, ethical and ongoing success.”

The global population has now reached over seven billion, resources are increasingly scarce and climate change is a reality. The more we take a sustainable and ethical approach in our daily lives, the better. The same goes for businesses; the more companies that incorporate sustainability into their lifestyles – the better. The two go hand in hand.

Consumers are generally aware of the environmental impact of energy use, transportation, waste and recycling, with basic environmentally friendly actions, such as switching off lights, reusing shopping bags and opting for paperless bills now a part of their daily lifestyles. But far fewer are aware of the relative impacts of their leisure and lifestyle choices and the goods and services they consume.

Brands and retailers have a good opportunity to help consumers understand the broader impacts of their lifestyles and the products they use but are they doing enough? Shouldn’t all businesses be highlighting the importance of sharing environment related information with consumers to help them make the right choice for the environment and a sustainable future?

In 2013, research from the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Consumption initiative revealed these findings:

  1. Sustainability needs a makeover: Consumers need to be excited and motivated by sustainability in order to engage. Business needs to use language that is more familiar and offer consumers incentives and sustainable choices that are more relevant to their lives and aspirations.
  1. Companies need to use six key strategies to seize the opportunity and enable more sustainable lifestyles. They can strengthen the consumer case for sustainability, engage their marketers, better integrate sustainability into research and development, create platforms for consumer collaboration, activate employees as advocates, and quantify outcomes.

There is a significant opportunity for businesses to help consumers make major changes in their lifestyles and purchasing habits. Just by providing better information and labelling, increasing awareness about the issues that are important to their company, helping raise money for causes that are important to their stakeholders and ensuring sustainability takes centre stage when it comes to product innovation.

At Cotton Roots, we are passionate about making clothing which are fairly made, ethical sourced and sustainable in creation and we believe strongly in promoting this cause.

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Here are just some of the things we do at Cotton Roots, which we hope encourages more people to think of ways they too, can lead a sustainable lifestyle:

  • 95 percent of all the bags we use to package our garments are recyclable.
  • We find use for all of garments and donate clothes to Willen Hospice which is local to us, or to World in Need www.winint.org
  • Where we can’t use some of the by-products of our manufacturing process we try and find another use for them
  • We often have small amount of rayon thread left on spools. Local schools and universities use the spare thread
  • We also collect our off-cuts of FAIRTRADE and organic fabric. We have found university students really appreciate these pieces of material for use in often ground-breaking fashion designs.
  • Our cardboard is donated to schools when it is useful, otherwise it is sorted for recycling.
  • Whenever we can we purchase items which are pre-used.
  • We purchase our electricity from Ecoctricity. After much research we selected Ecotricity as the energy supplier most committed to renewable energy.
  • We have recently found a printer that uses vegetable oil inks. We also use recycled paper throughout the company or paper which uses FSC managed forests.

What about you? What do you think? Do you think businesses are doing enough to promote sustainability?

Go green with these apps

Put your hands up if you are trying to live a little bit greener. Okay, you can put them down now! At Cotton Roots, we are certainly trying to live life sustainably, but knowing what to buy, what not to buy, what to eat, what not to eat, how to dispose of things… these can all leave you scratching your head from time to time. But did you know your phone can actually help you go greener? 

The internet is full of articles about sustainability, which is great for when you’ve got the time to read them, but when it comes to your daily lives and your busy schedule, sometimes you might need a little reminder. Now there are apps available that can put actionable challenges right at the tips of your fingers, no matter where you are. Since smartphones arrived in our lives, there’s a world of possibilities  to help you embrace a sustainable lifestyle. From reducing your carbon footprint, to protecting the environment, here are some of the best apps for green living:

JouleBug

Joulebug “make sustainable living social, simple, and actually fun.”

This app rewards you for being sustainable, and with rewards comes more encouragement to be more sustainable! You can download the app and earn points every time you make a sustainable decision, like biking to work instead of driving. You can earn badges and pins and compete with your friends on Twitter and Facebook to do your environmental part. The badges get more difficult, and more rewarding, as you earn more points. Each badge comes with visual, informative content that provides the knowledge and motivation you need to make small but significant changes in your daily habits. Not only that, it also helps you save money and cut down on your carbon footprint.

  • Earn pins, badges and points for discovering new ways to go green
  • Buzz every time you do something sustainable – every time you Buzz something, you’ll be helping the planet. JouleBug measures the impact for you, all you’ve got to do is Buzz it.
  • Compete in challenges to see who’s the greenest
  • Join communities to learn the latest on sustainability near you
  • Share how you are making a difference

8292958010_e3d456a22c_ocredit: Gonzalo Baeza/ CC BY

UNEP Carbon Calculator

This app allows you to calculate your impact to the environment. Greenhouse gases have some of the worst effects on global climate change. The UNEP Carbon Calculator lets you calculate how much CO2 is given off when you travel i.e driving to work, taking a train or flying somewhere. Users  can then convert their personal carbon footprint for journeys taken by air, train or road. They will then be shown the equivalent area of a particular ecosystem (such as a tropical forest) that can absorb this amount of carbon dioxide.

Green Retail 

The Green retail app is perfect for small shops and retailers as it helps save on water, energy and waste. Once downloaded, the Green Retail App will give small retailers videos, practical tools and advice on how to be more efficient. The retail sector has the potential to make huge efficiency savings and this app helps them realise savings where they can and to make their businesses more efficient. It includes quick guides to:

  • Energy Saving
  • Water Efficiency
  • Reducing Waste
  • Managing Waste
  • Sustainable Procurement
  • Storing & Handling Goods

RIPPL

Rippl is a free mobile app that helps you make simple, sustainable choices by delivering weekly green living tips. Each tip is designed to help transform your habits, save you money and help you live a greener life. We often set out with the best of intentions such as taking reusable bags for food shopping, or switching off the lights when they aren’t being used but sometimes we forget, and Rippl is your reminder! RIPPL includes:

  • Free green living tips to help improve your day-to-day habits
  • Ability to set goals and track your progress to show your impact
  • Science-based recommendations for proven ways to help grow a healthy environment
  • Opportunity to suggest your own tips to the community and share your success with your friends

The Recycle App

The recycle app gives real-time reporting and recycling for local authorities. Can you never remember which week is green bin or black bin? Then this is the app for you! It also allows you to set collection reminders, so you’ll never forget to recycle and it gives you a real-time map of “Recycling & Waste Points” within your local area.

So you want to be a Fairtrade Supplier?

Fairtrade reduces poverty. It provides local sustainability, better prices and safeguards humane working conditions for farmers and workers in the developing world. For those reasons alone, why wouldn’t you want to be a Fairtrade supplier?

But Fairtrade works both ways. It can also be good for your business too. Did you know that nearly 9 out of 10 consumers trust Fairtrade? And 4 out of 5 of them said having an ethical label on a product showing it is sustainable increases the likelihood of them buying a product? So it begs the question, can you afford not to carry the Fairtrade certification?
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It’s good to know that Fairtrade is no longer a new concept but in order to generate greater sales for the benefit of disadvantaged and marginalised producers it’s more important than ever to get even more manufacturers involved with it. Did you know there are over 4500 Fairtrade products available? The blue-green logo has become quite common on products – coffee, chocolate, bananas, beauty products, cotton – these can all be certified Fairtrade, which means it’s far easier than you think to supply them.

Bananas?

The price of a banana brought in a UK supermarket has dropped from around 18p to 11p. The result is that farmers and workers in countries like Colombia and Dominican Republic, growing bananas for a living is becoming unsustainable. But supplying or buying Fairtrade bananas in the UK means that producers are guaranteed a minimum price, get an extra premium to invest in their community and have improved workplace condition and protection.

Chocolate?

You know that satisfying feeling you get from a chocolate bar? Well you’d probably feel a little less satisfied if you knew what it took to produce it. Life is tough for coca farmers. The price of the cocoa bean has slumped in recent years despite high demand. Disease and age are damaging coca trees and few young people are becoming cocoa farmers because of the poor prospects. But Fairtrade is helping put a stop to that. It’s making places like Ivory Coast and Ghana more sustainable by guaranteeing minimum prices and providing a premium to invest in local communities so farmers can provide a better future for themselves and their families. You can give them this opportunity just by supplying Fairtrade chocolate.

Coffee?

By choosing Fairtrade coffee, you are helping invest in schools, reforestation and agricultural improvements in developing countries and helping farmers around the world get a fair deal, improving their working, social and community lives. They are guaranteed a Fairtrade minimum price for their coffee, which aims to cover the costs of production and act as a safety net when market prices fall below a sustainable level.

Cotton?

Cotton farmers in developing countries like India are living in hardship. The challenges range from poor prices for seed cotton through to competition from highly subsidised producers in rich countries. Fairtrade cotton was launched to put an end to this and help the farmers who are often left invisible, neglected and poor at the end of a long and complex cotton supply chain. Supplying products made from Fairtrade cotton ensures that these farmers receive a fair and stable price for their cotton.

Beauty products?

Did you know there are nearly 150 Fairtrade beauty products available? From dental care to body butter the list is endless. Small scale farmers in over 50 countries are producing ingredients such as coconut, argan and brazil nut oils for beauty products. With Fairtrade, they are getting a fair price and enough support to invest in community projects,

It’s not just these products either – gold, flowers, sugar, wine, tea – these are all available with the blue and green logo.

A recent survey found that British shoppers are up to three times more likely to choose environmentally friendly products than they were in 2011, so if you are a Fairtrade licensee it will encourage consumers to choose your business over competitors who are not offering the same ethical conditions. Whether you run a restaurant, pub, cafe or are an independent retailer wanting to stock these items, you can use the National Fairtrade Purchasing Guide to help you find a supplier.

This isn’t just aimed at suppliers either! If anything it’s to show just how easy it is to come across Fairtrade products. Supplier or consumer – it doesn’t really matter. Choose Fairtrade.

Fair Trade Organic Certified Hoodies for Schools and Students

Our shipment of Fair trade organic hoodies for students arrived a few weeks ago. Hurray!

All made especially for us in India.

Fair trade & Organic Cotton Spun for our Fair Trade Hoodies
Cotton Ready spun for Our Fair Trade Hoodies

 

It has been exciting, impatiently waiting for them to arrive. Now the warehouse is filled to the brim with boxes full of them. We have royal blue, red, navy and black. We thought students would be interested in them as these young people seem to be particularly socially aware, committed to Fair Trade, and want to take action.
We thought the interest would come from students at college or university.
But after only a few weeks of the hoodies being delivered we have had lots of interest from schools. They pupils want to wear Fair trade garments for school trips and special events. We embroider or print logos or designs created by pupils onto them. I have enjoyed talking directly with six formers who have been a pleasure to collaborate with. It is these young people who are taking responsibility for placing and looking after orders for their groups and teams.

In a nutshell early days yet but it looks like we have a Fair Trade garment that is going to be popular – which means that we can we can order more, help create fairer working conditions in the garment industry in India.

www.cottonroots.co.uk 01908 290482

We supplied a School with Fairtrade Polo Shirts in Costa Rica!

We were excited again here at bonny Cotton Roots.  This has to be the customer who lives the furthest away from us.

The Centro Billingue Waldof in Costa Rica placed an order with us for yellow Fairtrade certified polo shirts for the pupils of the school.  We embroidered them with their logo……….. here it is –

The logo embroidered onto Fairtrade cotton polo shirt fabric

It odes make us very proud to be selected.  I am an admirer of Rudolf Steiner and think I would have loved to have been taught at a Waldorf school myself when I was a child.

The gallery at the school website is really special.  Take a look please!  here is a link  Centro Billingue Waldorf.  You can also find out about the philosophy of Steiner.  Thank you Veronica for asking us to supply you.

We are talking to a UK school based on the same principles so are hopeful of working with them too.  It’s a bit hush hush at the moment. Shhhhh

My dream of course to work in some way, one day, with the school based at the Findhorn Foundation.  That would be a circle. Ahhh