Over the years we have learned a huge amount about the textile industry and the negative social and environmental impact both can have. Our experience and knowledge are at the heart of bennettandbates and our ethical policy.
As consumers ourselves we don’t always consider how items come to appear on our shelves and in our homes. At bennettandbates however it is our responsibility to consider every aspect of our business and the impact we have on everyone and everything involved in our processes.
Below you will find notes, facts and figures on various subjects from toxic free textiles to suicide amongst cotton growers. Our research is constant; everyday we face new challenges and choices and we learn more. This page will always be a ‘work in progress’ so if you have anything to share please contact us, we would appreciate your help.
Although our production is based far away in India, we are committed to minimising our carbon footprint so have chosen to only use sea freight, as we all know how polluting airfreight is. (This is why our products could be ‘out of stock’ for long periods) Additionally, we use a carrier who is one of the UK’s ‘best green shippers’ and ‘offsets 100% of their unavoidable carbon emissions’ by investing in ‘green’ projects worldwide.
Our fabrics are GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified so we can guarantee their origin. By only using organic fabric, we support organic farming which reduces pollution, encourages biodiversity, reduces chronic health problems associated with agricultural pesticides and saves farmers from severe debt and consequential suicide.
“Farmer suicide is a wrenching and contentious issue in India. There are more farmers in India than in any other country and the suicide rate for farmers is 48 percent higher than any other profession.” This is believed to be caused by raft of factors but most interestingly to us, “a dependence on expensive genetically modified seeds;”
themodernfarmer.com, ‘Why Are So Many Farmers Killing Themselves’, December 3rd 2013.
All of our products are handmade in India by talented and skilled artisans and crafts people. From weaving and screen printing to carving and constructing, everything has been made with time and care. Due to the handmade nature of our products, please allow and expect a certain amount of variation and imperfection in some items.
Our textile products are hypoallergenic as they have been made with 100% organic fibres that have been printed with non-toxic, azo-free inks and oxygen bleached, where bleached at all. Not only is this all good for you, the customer, this also reduces the high levels of pollution caused by effluent from textile dyes and inks.
“at least 20,000 people in developing countries die every year from poisoning by agricultural pesticides.”
CHEMICALS IN THE HOME
Why does it make a difference to use organic fabrics in the home? Many of us have already converted to organic food and some to organic textile clothing, but what is important about organic home textiles? It will probably come as no surprise that over time and use, our textiles release tiny particles of fabric which we inhale and ingest. In the case of non-organic textiles, these particles contain a long list of harmful and in many cases, carcinogenic chemicals that can cause not only irritation or skin reactions but over long periods of time, can contribute to illness and hormone disruption.
The textile industry is one of the worst water polluters in the world. Conventional cotton production and textile dyeing not only relies heavily on the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers which all damage the environment but it also releases ammonia, alkali salts, toxic solids and large amounts of pigments, heavy metals and chlorine into the world’s water. The effects of this are widespread damage to aquatic life, spread of disease and risk to human life. (The world bank estimates that almost 20% of the world’s water pollution is caused by the textile industry)
By only using organically grown cotton, non-toxic dyes and oxy-bleaches, you can be confident in knowing that we are doing everything we can to reduce worldwide water pollution.
Our production unit in Kerala also does their bit…..all water used during their printing process is recycled and used to water their local coconut groves.
SUSTAINABLE AND ECO-FRIENDLY PACKAGING
All of our packaging and labels are made from either recycled, sustainable or biodegradable material. The bag which protects your item during transit is biodegradable and can also be re-used. The ecoboxes we use for delivery use less corrugated material than standard boxes and we use eco-friendly gummed paper tape rather than standard packing tape.
We are always thinking about ways in which we can limit our environmental impact and unnecessary packaging is a big one. We have even created multifunction swing tags which double up as a gift tag you can use or re-use.
OUR ‘GREEN’ OFFICE
In line with our ethical policy and business goals, we keep a very ‘green’ office. We recycle every piece of paper, which for anyone looking through our accounts will be amusing as most documents have an old design print-out on the reverse! We research and use the greenest energy and technology possible, we bank with the brilliant, ethical Triodos bank, our stationery is all made from sustainable, recycled and fsc certified paper and we keep our waste and energy consumption to a minimum. It isn’t hard to do this and we feel good in the process.
Please visit www.lovelyasatree.com for green paper and printing tips.
We are currently developing UK made hypoallergenic cushion fillers, organic Italian bedding, fine bergama Turkish organic towels, wooden candle holders and a number of other exciting things. We strive for UK-based production as we are keen to support industry and equality both at home and abroad.