We want you to know that every, single purchase of our fairtrade organic bed sheets has been created to do all we can, to do things better. Not as charity, but as how we run business everyday. To try to stop devastating human rights and environmental issues before they begin.
Every purchase has funded educational scholarships for school children, literary programs for women and communities and provided living wages for workers. It has empowered women, men, children - in fact whole communities - to get out of poverty for good.
Women make up the vast majority of workers in textiles. As Kofi Annan, then Secretary-General of the United Nations, famously said, "There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women". There just isn't.
So thank you.
You have said no to the status quo ingrained in the textile industry today and said 'we can do better than this'.
But this isn't charity. This is everyday business for us. Opening a door for every single worker to forge their own business, education and path.
The UN International Labour Organisation estimates that globally 170 million children (or 11% of the world's children) are in child labour, many of these employed in the textiles industry.
It is estimated that in cotton mills in Tamil Nadu in India alone, over 200,000 trafficked girls are trapped today(1). In particular, parents unable to support their children are often wooed on false promises to send young women and children to 'good jobs' working in farms or mills (I've been there, lived in some of these villages and seen a tiny amount of how it begins). In reality, the conditions have been found to be simply "modern day slave labour"(1). These overseas farms or mills are where most of our yarn or fabric comes from, even for beautiful Australian made or locally made pieces.
You have funded school scholarships to ensure children of our workers have the opportunity to go to school. Education is the key to lasting change. Through a combination of scholarships for children and living wages for parents, you give children the chance to get out of the fields and factories and to stay in school.
You have paid for health insurance, paid leave, staff lunches, safe transport home for workers. Those things we take for granted, yet rights that so many workers normally just don't receive. You have said a big fat no to child labour, slave labour and trafficking, trying to stop it before it happens.
You have done this by helping us to pay many multiples more back to the people who crafted and worked incredibly hard to make your sheets. Not by you paying more, but simply buy choosing which company to support.
For us this isn't just a 'policy'. This is our responsibility to do what we can to know what is happening right back to the farm. Through every, single step.
You have supported the education of farmers to practice more sustainable farming methods and supported organic cotton farming.
Organic cotton been shown to use just 1/10th of the irrigated water and less than 50% of the primary energy used in conventional cotton farming. (1)
You have chosen factories that use renewable energy, recycle water and re-use off-cuts in order to minimise waste.
Finally, you have helped to keep devastatingly harmful toxins out of the waterways and farms. Conventional textile production is ridden with harmful chemicals from farm right through to finishing. All of our products are certified organic (GOTS certified), keeping the environment, food chains, families and their children - you and your family too - so much safer from harm.
So thank you.
We'd like to think of this as starting a revolution from your bed. But as that all sounds a bit exhausting... let's just put it down to plain, old human kindness instead.
And if you ever find yourself wondering if you have the power to change the world, we can wholeheartedly assure you: you can. You already are.
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Notes: (1) Life cycle assessment of organic cotton, Textile Exchange, November 2014.