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The world’s biggest fashion retailer of Fairtrade certified cotton……..

Dressmann, one of the leading fashion chains for menswear in Northern Europe, is set to become the world’s biggest fashion retailer of Fairtrade certified cotton when it launches a new range of t-shirts, boxer shorts and socks.

Dressmann has also committed to source 100% sustainable cotton by 2025 in an effort to improve social and environmental conditions across its entire supply chain. Fairtrade cotton farmers in India will benefit from increased Fairtrade sales and plan to invest in education projects and increasing environmentally friendly production.

“We are proud to be able to launch a range of clothing made from Fairtrade certified cotton, making us the biggest player in the sector! The Fairtrade label will initially launch on basic garments that are always in store, but this is just the beginning of our journey with Fairtrade, and we plan to introduce more clothing lines in Fairtrade certified cotton by 2018”, said Chessa Nilsen, Sustainability Lead at Dressmann.

The move will see the Norwegian apparel chain launch its new range of t-shirts, boxers and socks made from Fairtrade certified cotton in up to 500 stores across Europe in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Austria and Germany, making them the largest global buyer of Fairtrade certified cotton in the apparel sector. The commitment means that the farmers who grew their cotton have met Fairtrade’s rigorous social, economic and environmental standards.

“It’s exactly when big volumes such as these are traded on Fairtrade terms that Fairtrade can have a truly transformative impact on cotton farming communities and their environment across Africa, Asia and Latin America. We hope that Dressmann’s Fairtrade commitment will inspire other major fashion brands and retailers to follow suit and scale up”, says Subindu Garkhel, Fairtrade’s Global Cotton Manager.

Great boost for farmers in India

In India, over 2,400 cotton farmers from Fairtrade certified cooperative Noble Ecotech have already benefitted from Fairtrade cotton sales. They have been able to purchase farm equipment, water tanks and school equipment for local children, and installed drainage in all fields, reducing their water consumption by approximately 40 percent.

“Before, we had to buy seeds and other farm inputs from local merchants each year and found ourselves in spiralling debt to them. Now, the Fairtrade-certified cooperative we are all members of buys cotton seed in large quantities which they sell to us farmers for a reasonable price. The cooperative buys all the cotton we grow and sells it for us. This means that individual farmers no longer have to chase buyers single-handedly”, farmer Chatr Singh explained recently when Dressmann’s parent company Varner and Fairtrade Norway visited India in October.

Farmers from Noble Ecotech plan to invest money earned from Fairtrade sales in establishing a centre for agricultural training where they can learn about efficient farming and cultivation of other crops, as well as how best to produce natural fertilizers and pesticides.

Traceability is important

All the Fairtrade certified cotton in Dressmann’s garments can be physically traced all the way back to the farmers’ cooperative. “Dressmann has committed to ensure that all the cotton we use by 2025 should come from sustainable sources, and Fairtrade is our preferred tool within this context. Fairtrade helps us increase our sustainability not only at the factory floor level, but also for the farmers who grow our cotton, “says Chessa Nilsen.

News Products

The first ever shipment of African Fairtrade gold from Uganda has been delivered.

The first ever shipment of African Fairtrade gold from Uganda has been delivered. In 2016, Syanyonja Artisan Miners Alliance (SAMA), co-operative in Uganda became the first ever African gold mine to become Fairtrade certified. It’s been a long road from mine to market but soon African miners will get the same benefits as their Fairtrade counterparts in South America.
Life is tough for small-scale gold miners. Miners often work with their bare hands, forced to accept low, unfair prices from middle men. Gold mining is often the only form of employment and miners earn as little as £0.50 a day. But with support from Fairtrade, the formerly illegal miners are now registered with the local government and the improvements have been transformational.
Joseph Waffula, General Secretary of SAMA, is looking forward to the changes Fairtrade certification will bring. ‘When we get a Fairtrade price we’ll be able to educate our children and the community will also benefit as we’ll be able to support the health centre in Busitema.
‘We’d like to support the orphans with exercise books. Even buying an extra 12 books makes a big difference.’
The potential for Fairtrade Gold to change this industry is huge – from rings on fingers to parts in phones and even types of medical treatment! But the biggest change will be for the miners themselves.
In the words of Simon Wabwire, Chairman of SAMA: ‘It was like a dream to be certified – we worked hard. It was unbelievable when we heard.’
If you, or anyone you know, are looking to buy something special at Christmas (or any time of year) why not think about Fairtrade gold? Find your nearest stockist of Fairtrade gold.
Now that’s going for gold.

Featured Products

Major names pledge to use 100% sustainable cotton by 2025

23 more of the world’s most renowned clothing and textile companies, including Burberry, Adidas, Kathmandu and Timberland today pledged to use 100% sustainable cotton by 2025.
This initiative recognises several existing standards as delivering sustainable cotton: Organic, Fairtrade, Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Cotton Made in Africa and recycled cotton certified to an independently verifiable standard such as the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) or the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS). In addition, CottonConnect’s REEL programme and code provides a starting point for businesses aiming for greater sustainability in their cotton supply chain.
36 major brands and retailers have now signed up to the 100% by 2025 pledge, including four of Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s ten largest global apparel brands , and three of the top 10 UK clothing retailers. This announcement was made at the annual Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference, where more than 400 textile and apparel leaders have come together to discuss the most important sustainability issues facing the industry.
This pledge – called the sustainable cotton communiqué – demonstrates that there is a demand for more sustainable cotton, and the commitment made by companies will help to drive sustainable practices across the sector. In turn, this will help alleviate the environmental and social costs that are too often associated with cotton production, including the over-use of pesticides, the release of greenhouse gases, the depletion of local water sources and rising costs of production.
The brands that have committed to the 100% by 2025 pledge are: ASOS, EILEEN FISHER, Greenfibres, H&M, IKEA, Kering, Levi’s, Lindex, M&S, Nike, Sainsbury’s, F&F at Tesco, Woolworths, Adidas, A-Z, BikBOk, Burberry, Burton Snowboards, Carlings, Coyuchi, Cubus, Days like This, Dressmann, Hanky Panky, House of Fraser, Indigenous Designs, KappAhl, Kathmandu, Mantis World, Otto Group, prAna, SkunkFunk, Timberland, Urban, Volt and Wow.
Impact
There have been substantial gains made over the past few years in scaling the production of more sustainable forms of cotton, which is now higher than ever at over 3 million tonnes in 2016. However, companies are actively sourcing less than a fifth of this available sustainable cotton. In order for sustainable cotton to become standard business practice, the amount of sustainable cotton grown and bought must increase significantly. This pledge sends a signal to millions of producers that there is a real demand for a more sustainable approach to cotton production that reduces the environmental and social costs.
The companies that have pledged their support are at various stages on their journey to using sustainable cotton, with some already securing all of their cotton from sustainable sources. However, all are clear that collaboration across the sector is needed to bring about transformative change.
Quotes from selected companies and NGO representatives:
“The industry is awakening to the necessity of sustainably grown cotton. It is great to see additional brands joining this initiative to accelerate the momentum of cotton production in a way that will positively impact smallholder farmers, water quality and soil health.” La Rhea Pepper, Managing Director, Textile Exchange
“As a pioneer in organic cotton bedding, Coyuchi cares immensely about what our sheets, towels and apparel are made of and its greater impact on the environment and the hands that touch it from earth to factory to home. Coyuchi is excited to join the pledge and the growing momentum by likeminded brands committed to a more sustainable future.” Eileen Mockus, CEO, Coyuchi
“Burton has a responsibility to protect the people and playground that sustain our sport and lifestyle. We recognize that there are social and environmental costs associated with producing our products. We are continuously striving toward sustainability in our production practices, including the materials we source. Burton is proud to join other industry leaders in this pledge, which is aligned with our commitment to sourcing 100% sustainable cotton by 2020.” Donna Carpenter, CEO and Co-owner, Burton Snowboards
“It’s been a long journey to reach 100% organic cotton. Kudos to all the prAna employees & global supply chain partners who put in countless hours. We couldn’t be more ecstatic about this sustainability milestone!” Russ Hopcus, President, prAna
“House of Fraser supports the Sustainable Cotton Communiqué as part of our shift to sourcing sustainable cotton in our house branded fashion and homeware products. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate to scale the uptake of sustainable materials in fashion, and applaud HRH The Prince of Wales for his leadership.” Maria Hollins, Executive Director of Buying and Design, House of Fraser
“At Timberland, we strive to be Earthkeepers in everything we do and we recognize sustainable cotton sourcing as a major part of that goal. Studies have shown the positive social benefits to farming communities as well as the potential for these practices to sequester carbon into the soil. This is exciting work as we move beyond just minimizing environmental impacts to strategically creating real environmental and social benefits within the supply chain.” Zachary Angelini, Environmental Stewardship Manager, Timberland

This announcement, made at the annual Textile Exchange conference, follows the launch of the sustainable cotton communiqué at a high level meeting in May this year that was attended by HRH The Prince of Wales and organised by The Prince’s International Sustainability Unit (ISU) in collaboration with Marks & Spencer and The Soil Association (UK).
Information about cotton and sustainability
Cotton is the most abundantly produced natural fibre and its production supports the livelihoods of over 350 million people* . Despite its global importance, cotton production can be beset by a number of environmental and social challenges. Whilst cotton only covers 2.4% of the world’s arable land, it accounts for 6% of global pesticide use . With around 2,720 litres of water needed to make just one t-shirt, conventional cotton production is highly dependent on water . Higher temperatures and changing rainfall patterns caused by climate change are likely to cause severe water shortages in some areas, as well as increase the prevalence of pests and diseases, negatively affect yields. The challenges of the cotton sector are also social and economic, with cotton farmers and their dependents negatively impacted by the over-use of pesticides and petroleum based fertilizers, and rising costs of production and volatile market prices.
More information, This initiative recognises several existing standards as delivering sustainable cotton: Organic, Fairtrade, Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), Cotton Made in Africa and recycled cotton certified to an independently verifiable standard such as the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) or the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS). In addition, CottonConnect’s REEL programme and code provides a starting point for businesses aiming for greater sustainability in their cotton supply chain.
*Fairtrade Foundation, Commodity Briefing: Cotton, 2015

News Products Supporters

J J Fox Guernsey Ltd latest to sign-up

J J Fox Guernsey Limited have just confirmed their significant support for Fairtrade. Their product range includes the following Fairtrade:

Milfresh vending chocolate

Cafe Nueva Espresso beans

Tate & Lyle vending sugar

Nestle Partners coffee

…… so no excuse not to fill your vending machine with Fairtrade!

Products

Ben & Jerry’s unveils three new Fairtrade non-dairy ice cream flavours

6 September, 2017

Ben & Jerry’s unveils three new non-dairy ice cream flavours

Attention ice cream fans unable – or choosing not – to consume dairy; your long wait is soon to be over! It’s almost time to raise spoons in celebration of an all-new, non-dairy flavour lineup, set to arrive into supermarket freezers this month.

Soon, fans will be able to dive deep into a decadent tub and experience all the chunks and swirls Ben & Jerry’s is known and loved for, but this time in a vegan certified, almond-based indulgence.

For years, non-dairy fans have been forced to watch ice cream consumers with envy, unable to satisfy their sweet cravings. Now the tables are turning. Non-dairy and vegan consumers alike will be able to participate in a truly indulgent ice cream experience, enjoying two classic Ben & Jerry’s flavours… as well as a Non-Dairy exclusive flavour, Peanut Butter & Cookies. Chunks? Check. Swirls? Check. Non-Dairy? Check. We kid you not!

The new lineup includes a trio of flavours ready for spooning, including:

  • Chocolate Fudge Brownie: Irresistible chocolate non-dairy ice cream with fudge brownies. Our fabulously fudgy brownies have come from New York’s Greyston Bakery in Yonkers since ‘88, where baking is part of a greater-good mission to help provide jobs & training to low-income city residents. This concoction includes Greyston’s vegan brownie, which brings a taste like no udder.
  • Chunky Monkey: Okay, so we monkeyed around with our classic Chunky Monkey… banana non-dairy ice cream with chocolatey chunks & walnuts – guaranteed to make fans go truly bananas!
  • Peanut Butter & Cookies: We’ve always had a thing for peanut butter…and cookies. Presenting: vanilla non-dairy ice cream with chocolatey sandwich cookies & scrumptiously crunchy peanut butter swirls.

What’s even sweeter is that Ben & Jerry’s new flavours are the first ever non-dairy Fairtrade-certified ice cream in the UK! So non-dairy fans can be sure that they taste good…and do good too!

“Our fans dared us to go dairy-less… and we did! Creating non-dairy ice cream that meets the funky and chunky expectations of Ben & Jerry’s fans was quite a challenge,” says Ben & Jerry’s Flavour Guru, Andrea Ball, “but we’re delighted to confirm the long wait is nearly over! Spoons at the ready to dig in…”

The new Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy family will be available in freezers across the nation from the end of September and available at the Recommended Retail Price of £5.99. To learn more about Ben & Jerry’s new flavours or to find a store that stocks Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy near you this September, visit www.benjerry.co.uk/flavours/non-dairy.

News Products

Fairtrade Summer Product Review

Remember last year’s summer products review? You told us you loved it so much that we’ve done it again and we’ve gone bigger…

Check out the Fairtrade Foundation blog to see what the team at Fairtrade thought.

If you’ve found other exciting Fairtrade products let us know!

News Products

Nestlé adopts Fairtrade’s Sourcing Program

Nestlé has announced it will change the way it sources Fairtrade ingredients for its KitKat 2 and 4 finger chocolate.

From 5 June 2017, the company will switch from sourcing All That Can Be Fairtrade to sourcing cocoa, sugar and vanilla through the Fairtrade Cocoa, Sugar and Vanilla Programs. As a result, affected KitKat products will begin to carry the FAIRTRADE Program Mark on the back of pack instead of the FAIRTRADE Mark.  This is part of Nestlé’s global strategy to give more prominence on all confectionery packaging to Nestlé’s flagship Cocoa Plan and the change brings KitKat in line with the rest of their chocolate confectionery range; whilst still maintaining their Fairtrade commitment.

Nestlé will continue to buy all the cocoa, sugar and vanilla needed for its KitKat 2 and 4 finger chocolate on Fairtrade terms, and farmers will still follow the Fairtrade Standards and receive the same benefits. As well as the Fairtrade price (or market price if higher) for the commodity, farmer groups receive the Fairtrade premium to invest in long-term community and business projects of their own choice, such as education and healthcare.

The Fairtrade Sourcing Program was designed by Fairtrade to offer businesses another way to purchase Fairtrade cocoa, sugar and vanilla, and in doing so, increasing the opportunities for producers to sell on Fairtrade terms. Many European markets have adopted the Fairtrade Cocoa Program, and this has increased global sales of Fairtrade cocoa from 51,000 metric tonnes in 2012 to just over 100,000 tonnes in 2016. Confectionery brands such as Ferrero and Mars have already committed to the Fairtrade Cocoa Program.

Nestlé’s collaboration with Fairtrade began in 2009, when the UK’s best-selling chocolate wafers, KitKat 4 finger, first received ethical certification through the FAIRTRADE Mark in the UK and Ireland. This move was then extended to the 2 finger.

KitKat, made in York, is the UK’s favourite chocolate wafer fingers, with 1bn sold here each year. Launched in 1935 and originally called Chocolate Crisp, it has grown to become Nestlé’s biggest confectionery brand in the UK.  The UK is the biggest market for KitKat globally, twice as big as the next highest, Japan.

News Products

What do you know about modern slavery in fashion?

Slave to Fashion front cover

by Safia Minney, Founder of People Tree and managing director of Po-Zu (ethical footwear company)

Safia launches her new book ‘Slave to Fashion’ during Fashion Revolution Week. The book discusses modern slavery in fashion supply chains and goes through Safia’s journey finding out more behind the fashion industry.

I’m hoping that Slave to Fashion will be a crash course on modern slavery;  why is it still happening in numbers like we have never seen before and what needs to change to stop it. Modern slavery includes; human trafficking, bonded, forced and child labour and excessive overtime.

The inspiration for Slave to Fashion came to me in a dream.

The faces and hands of women, children and men reached out to me, calling, smiling, asking for solidarity, not charity, and for me to witness and tell their stories.  I wanted a big solution to poverty, exploitation and social injustice…

The book covers The Modern Slavery Act, The Global economy, Meet the Slaves (to protect the people I changed their names and masked their faces with a pink ribbon), the Social & Technical Innovations and investigative journalism that is making the difference, and a Toolkit.

The Fair Trade movement has been key to building public awareness, set decent standards for different agricultural commodities and manufacturing for products and terms of trade and has inspired policy makers and the media. The MSA (Modern Slavery Act), passed in 2015, which included supply chains and requires companies with a turnover of £36mn to file a Slavery Report on what they are doing to eradicate slavery in their supply chains, requires sign off of the company board.  There is a lot that needs to happen to make this more effective and give the public access to this information, and make it easy to act upon. The MSA represents a unique opportunity to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (remember those?!) and the Ruggie Principles (UN Guiding Principles and Human Rights). But what does this mean in reality for the workers?

It is clear that it has the power as companies are forced to get to know their supply chains and maintain information through good transparency, promote social dialogue, design and plan their orders better, to strengthen local legal systems, challenge corruption and strengthen human rights through laws and codes of practice that WORK,  including paying a living wage and respecting independent trade unions.

Researching, interviewing for and writing Slave to Fashion, I spend 6 months meeting women men and children in India, Cambodia and Bangladesh and hearing their stories and interviewed business people and activists working on human rights and slavery issues. Girls who were 12 when they started working at a cotton mill where her friends, other children were bonded labourers, and at 15 felt too exhausted and burnt out to work in a garment factory for 6 days a week; women who were trafficked and ended up in the sex and garment trade. Women who are sexually harassed by their male supervisors and who walk a thin line daily between losing the benefits of a permanent job and ‘giving sexual favours’. The sickening violence of slavery and misused power.

The great news is that there are Fairtrade, social enterprise and tech solutions out there and there are progressive companies too who are pushing the boundaries forward and inviting their peers to work with them to improve practice.

As a Fairtrade leader and entrepreneur, having worked in the so-called developing world with trade unions and economically marginalised people for over 20 years, we know that good trade can make a huge difference to people and prevent communities protect themselves from criminal gangs that broker people.