Category Archives: Fairtrade Clothing

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

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.

 

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?

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

Fairtrade Certified Hoodies in Stock

It has been quite difficult – but finally we have our new stock on the way.  Just a few more weeks.

Yes in October the result of lots of hard work is paying off.  Our hoodies will not only be Fairtrade certified but they will also be made with certified organic cotton.  We have designed the hoodies so that they will be particularly suitable for students and university student uniongroups in particular.  We have found htem to be one of our top customers and particularly committed to Fairtrade clothing.

We will have available black, navy blue, red and royal blue.  These will match our range of polo shirts and t shirts.  I am excited by the quality.  It is my passion that Fairtrade garments must be very good quality.  I wanted them to better than the average hoodie available, still be a good price and most importantly that we can supply the same garment reliably over and over again.  I think we have achieved this so once again it is exciting times at Cotton Roots.  You can take a look at them here fairtrade, organic hoodies 

New Online Ordering for School Customers

At the end of last year we introduced a new service so that parents can order school uniform for their children online.

I have been very pleased at how popular this is with our school customers.  The have usually taken the option of offering the opportunity for parents to place their orders on line, we then embroider the garments, pack them fro each child and then deliver them to the school.  We deliver once fortnightly to greatly reduce delivery costs – and of course carbon emissions!

Ordering online means that the school staff do not have to send out order forms, collect money, collate all the orders and then place a final order with us.  Instead we set up a simple website for each school which shows only their uniform and then do the rest of the legwork leaving the teachers to teach.

The extra good thing for us is that it gives even more reason for potential new school customers to select us as their supplier.  Along side this as we are just about the only supplier who are committed to holding stock of Fairtrade certified school uniform we are getting more and more schools coming on board.  I am just about to write to the Fairtrade Foundation to update them on how well we are doing.

The Welsh and Scottish Fairtrade groups have been particularly active in letting school know about us – so a heartfelt thanks to them.  It shows too …….we have many more schools who have selected Fairtrade school uniform who are based in Wales or Scotland.

Challoner Pupils Lead their School to Fairtrade Status

Students from Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate School

I am quite new to “tweeting” but lots of young people are red hot.  I was really pleased today when a tweet came along from a group of pupils from  Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate school (Wow – what a name) about their efforts for Fairtrade and I saw it!

A local charity called the  Otesha Project had worked together with a group of pupils with a passion to fight for Fairtrade within their school.  Together they  presented a proposal to staff and school governors to make their school a recognised Fairtrade school- and it was accepted.  A fabulous committed effort.

Wonderful news and it just shows how individuals and  groups of determined people (human beings) can really make a difference.  When I visited India I met some of the cotton farmers who grow the Fairtrade certified cotton we use.  They showed me first hand the difference Fairtrade can make.

Just like the ripple in the pond theory.  A small stone dropped in a pond causes ever increasing ripples.  The Challoner pupils have dropped quite a large stone and the ripples will be quite a force.  I really love it when students move things along and actually lead their school or university to change.

Read the full article here with quotes from the pupils and the full story of how they went about it and were successful.

Our effect on the world - the ripples go on and on...........

River Cottage and our Fairtrade and Organic Aprons

Fairtrade Organic Aprons

I expect you have heard of River Cottage and Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall?  Fabulous food, organic and Fairtrade ingredients, cookery schools and campaigning for ethically produced seasonal food.

During River Cottage Spring (2008) Hugh helped a group of Bristol families start a smallholding on derelict council land. he experience was so inspiring he decided to see if it would work nationwide, and Landshare was created to bring keen growers and landowners together. The movement now includes more than 50,000 people.

Well we were very pleased when they selected our top quality Fairtrade certified organic aprons for their staff.  They really are beautifully made and they were sewn and dyed in a special colour just for River Cottage.  Our aprons are made in India by a cop-operative and you would be hard pushed to find any other aprons as well made.  Their construction is really “old fashioned” in the most beautiful way that we in the west don’t often see.  That is probably why they were selected for River Cottage.

You can see our Fairtrade and organic aprons here and out more about River Cottage here.