We are very happy to announce that Defend Animals is now an official member of PETA Business Friends. Our shop has received the PETA-Approved Vegan certification, which means that all of our product are certified 100% vegan and approved by PETA.
PETA states this certification is to let customers know that they can shop here without worry, never having to question if any animals were harmed or killed for the products being sold.
Through this partnership, Defend Animals donates $5,000 USD on 5 years to PETA.
PETA Business Friends is an innovative partnership offered to compassionate companies willing to assist in PETA’s groundbreaking work to stop animal abuse and suffering. To learn more about this program or to see the list of members, please visit the PETA website.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the largest animal rights organization in the world, with more than 6.5 million members and supporters. It was founded in 1980.
PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: in laboratories, in the food industry, in the clothing trade, and in the entertainment industry. PETA also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of rodents, birds, and other animals who are often considered “pests” as well as cruelty to domesticated animals.
PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and protest campaigns.
We are honored to be working together with PETA, and we hope to do our part in promoting the same message of kindness and compassion towards all animals that PETA has been working into the public conscience for almost 40 years.
We are pleased to announce the launch of our newly redesigned website, DefendAnimals.com. Featuring a brand new look, more information on our products and simplified navigation.
As you may have noticed, the old version was long due for an update. We don’t use a third party software to run this website – we built our own. Our cooperative requires very specific needs so our website was entirely built from scratch by our web developers who have been working on tirelessly for over 1 year to make this possible.
We hope you like the changes and find it easier to find what you’re looking for quickly and efficiently. If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know by e-mailing us.
Last year, we launched Defend Animals, a new shop where you can find more vegan t-shirts and animal lovers products. To pursue the tradition of donating money to the same causes expressed on our t-shirts, we decided that the theme of our yearly donations would be animals rights charities.
We recently donated a total of $5,000 USD to animal rights charities. Here are the organizations that we supported:
We take ethics seriously, bringing you sweatshop-free products without any child labor. All of our t-shirts use fair trade cotton made in the USA, including our regular t-shirts. The manufacturer’s working conditions are closely monitored through a transparent Code of Conduct and regular independent audits. This article gives details about our fair labor certifications, the manufacturer’s ethical guidelines and code of conduct, as well as the country of origin of the products and the cotton raw material.
Fair labor certifications
All of our products (including imported apparel) are approved by independent fair labor certifications and ethical seals such as :
Ethical Guidelines – Code of Conduct for manufacturers and their supply chain
Our manufacturer partner requires all of its suppliers to sign their “Ethical Guidelines Code of Conduct” to ensure fair production conditions and ethical standards. This includes, among other labor standards, the assured prevention of child labor and the guarantee of fair payment. To ensure these standards, our partner works with suppliers who bindingly sign the Code of Conduct, or provide similar binding assurances of their own. In addition, our partner works to gather detailed information about the supplier’s production conditions such as Social Audit Reports and monitoring.
Our exclusive manufacturing partner, defined as SPRD, Inc in the following text, is a contractor working with the cooperative to supply us with clothing and products to be printed on. SPRD has designed a code of conduct to create humane conditions at work worldwide. Contractual partners of SPRD are obligated to sign this code of conduct and adhere to it if they cannot present a similar document.
This partnership with a business specialized in the clothing industry allows us to ensure the whole supply chain is closely monitored to prevent ethical issues and ensure decent working conditions
All manufacturers of the products sold on this website adhere to this Code of Conduct, even our cheaper imported t-shirts. This Code of Conduct applies to contractual partners as well as their subsidiaries.
1. The Scope of the Code
This Code of Conduct applies to the shop, to SPRD’s contractual partners as well as their subsidiaries.
2. Legal Compliance
The contractual partners must follow their relative applicable national and international laws, particularly the labor and social laws. In addition, this Code of Conduct, which states the fundamental labor and social standards, is based on the ILO Conventions, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child and on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, as well as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
The SPRD Code of Conduct describes only the ensured minimum standards for the protection of employees. If the provisions of national and international legislation and / or industry standards and this Code of Conduct contain rules on the same subject, then the strictest regulations shall apply.
3. Information and Communication
The contractual partners must make the SPRD Code of Conduct freely accessible to all employees in their language and in the relevant work areas.
Contractual partners who operate with third parties (producers, subcontractors etc.) are required to make the SPRD Code of Conduct a central idea of this concrete business relationship.
The contractual partner must designate a specific contact person to handle questions of implementation and observance of this Code of Conduct.
4. Inspection and Monitoring
The business partners agree and understand that the adherence to the minimum requirements and standards of this Code of Conduct can be monitored at any time, either by employees of SPRD or by independent organizations.
a) Working Hours
A work week includes a maximum of 48 hours as well as a maximum of 12 overtime hours. Every employee is entitled to at least one day off from work per week. Overtime will be paid corresponding to the legal regulations or the industry’s regional practices, whichever of those has a higher standard.
ILO-Conventions 1 and 14 apply.
b) No Child Labor
Employees must be at least 15 years of age and cannot be less than the age of completion of compulsory schooling. Child labor and the supply of services by children is prohibited. The definition of child labor is determined by the United Nations regulations or the nation’s specific applicable regulations, whichever of those is more stringent.
ILO-Conventions 79, 138, 142 and 182 as well as ILO-Recommendation 146 apply.
c) Forced Labor
Employment must be freely chosen and must be established on the basis of employment forms which follow the national laws and procedures. Forced labor, bonded labor or slave labor is not tolerated.
Employees’ identity papers may not be retained. The employees may not be prevented from leaving the place of work.
ILO-Conventions 29 and 105 apply.
d) Prison Labor
Prison labor is forbidden.
e) Equal Treatment
Every employee is to be treated fairly and according to the principle of equality. This means that no employee may be discriminated against or preferred according to differences in race, religion, age, social backgrounds, political attitude, gender, sexual orientation or position in the company.
ILO-Conventions 100, 111, 143, 158 and 159 apply.
f) Dignity in the Working Environment
Human dignity is inviolable and therefore to be implicitly respected in the workplace. Forced labor, harassment, physical or mental coercion and degrading methods of discipline or punishment are prohibited.
g) Working Contracts
Employees must receive a written contract for the documentation of their terms of employment. This documentation must indicate at a minimum: Name of the employee, date of birth, place of birth, home address, function, starting date of contract, agreed hours of work, salary and further compensation, probation period (if applicable), holiday entitlements, regulations for the termination of the working relationship (both by employer and employee), date and signature or thumb print of the employee as well as the employer.
In cases of illiteracy, the terms of the contract must be additionally communicated verbally. This is to be documented in writing.
The wages must meet the basic needs of the employee and must never fall below the legally prescribed minimum wage for that country. The employees must receive all benefits mandated by national law, e.g. insurance contributions, premium payments for overtime and paid holidays. Illegal and unauthorized deductions as well as disciplinary deductions are forbidden.
The wages should be provided in accordance with the local common practice.
ILO-Conventions 26 and 131 apply.
i) Occupational Safety
The safety of the employee in the workplace is to be guaranteed. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure this to its full extent. All of the respective nation’s current industrial safety regulations are to be complied with, as well as the relevant legal regulations with regard to the exposure to harmful substances. Thus, use of dangerous chemicals, which leave residue and could be harmful to one’s health, are prohibited. Similar regulations apply to working conditions with regard to noise levels, fire, sanitation, ventilation, etc. and for the employees’ accommodation, if such are provided. Access to First Aid and emergency/evacuation plans must be present. Furthermore, all regulations are to be ensured for the protection the environment.
j) Freedom of Association
The employees may not be prevented from participation in the freedom of association. They have the right to join trade unions or other labor organizations as well as the right to collective bargaining in accordance with local laws.
ILO-Conventions 87, 98, 135 and 154 as well as the ILO-Recommendation 143 apply.
SPRD, Inc. requires that the above provisions are followed by all contractors, employees, subcontractors and other third parties.
The resulting requirements of this Code of Conduct may not be circumvented through the use of contract work, pseudo training programs or similar measures. Under pseudo training programmes are especially those which do not have the objective of propagating employees’ knowledge or skills.
SPRD, Inc. reserves the right to withdraw from the business relationship in the case of any violation of the above. The aim of cooperation would be to clarify problems and, in the possible case of violation, to improve the situation together.
MANUFACTURER – We, the undersigned, attest to having read and understood the contents of the SPRD Code of Conduct, and agree to comply with the resulting obligations. Location, Date, Company Stamp, Signature, Name and Position of the Signatory
All of our clothing is printed, processed, packaged and shipped from the United States.
We usually offer two types of products manufacturers options – either imported or produced locally. The most ethical t-shirts are of course the local products but the downside is the premium price. However, we understand that most of our working class customers are on a budget and sometimes prefer the cheapest option available. That’s why we give the choice between two options and also offer regular t-shirts at $15 – but we still make sure to always use brands among the most ethical in the imported clothing industry.
The brands we carry will depend on availability and other factors, therefore we can’t provide the details about each manufacturer and product origin in this F.A.Q. but you can contact us to get specific information.
Our t-shirts are made of cotton ethically produced in the United States
The vast majority of the cotton used by our t-shirts manufacturers is produced in the United States, including even our standard t-shirts and imported products. US cotton farmers are required to adhere to strict US labor laws and regulations. These regulations are most likely some of the most stringent in the cotton growing industry globally. They provide workers with ethical workplaces and because cotton is regulated as a food crop, workplace health and safety conditions mirror those of the vast majority of the foods we find on our tables.
Regulated as a food and fiber crop under strict U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) standards, cotton grown in the USA represents the best combination of quality and value for cotton and cotton blended products. Under the guidance of the National Cotton Council, USDA and various other organisations, US farmers have continuously reduced their environmental footprint by constantly improving their agricultural practices.
Under the guidance of the USDA, the National Cotton Council (NCC) and various other organizations, US Cotton farmers have partnered with industry and academia in order to develop and implement numerous agricultural conservation practices and technologies. These technologies have resulted in a dramatically reduced environmental footprint.
Seed varieties have increased production yields while lowering water, land and energy, and further reducing the frequency and intensity of chemical applications. Conservation agriculture practices and advanced soil monitoring systems have reduced soil erosion and residual impacts on the environment. GPS positioning and advanced delivery systems allow farmers to be more efficient while planting, fertilizing and harvesting, effectively allowing for a reduction in GHG emissions and environmental impacts on the land and neighboring ecosystems.
Some U.S. Cotton facts:
– The US Cotton industry as a whole employs over 126,000 employees, whose farms output is valued in excess of 3.5 billion. The economic impact of all parts of the US Cotton industry are estimated to be in excess of $21 billion
– U.S. cotton is regulated as a food crop as well as a fiber crop by U.S. regulatory agencies (USDA, USEPA and FDA). It is therefore subject to the same rigorous environmental standards as food producers.
– U.S. Cotton growers offer ethical and safe work environments respecting employee rights according to the laws and regulations as set forth under U.S. law and OSHA.
– U.S. Cotton is a drought and heat-tolerant crop, with two-thirds of a planted acreage requiring no supplemental irrigation in addition to rainfall.
– Two-thirds of U.S. growers use conservation tillage, which saves about 907 million metric tons of soil per year and over one billion liters of tractor fuel. Conservation tillage is a method different than conventional tillage. It reduces soil erosion and therefore nutrient loss. It also increases the soil’s moisture and organic matter content.
– U.S. cotton is a net greenhouse gas (GHG) absorber. More GHGs are absorbed in the fiber, plants and soil than those GHGs emitted during the entire agricultural cycle: field preparation through harvest.
Every year the Government of Uzbekistan, one of the world’s largest exporters of cotton, forces over 1 million of Uzbek citizens to leave their regular jobs and go to the fields to pick cotton for weeks in arduous and hazardous conditions. Many people have died in fields from extreme heat and accidents. According to several human rights organizations, slavery-like practices are used in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields.
The vast majority of the cotton used by our t-shirts manufacturer is produced in the United States. Notwithstanding this fact, our supplier requires all business partners to confirm, by means of a signed statement, that they do not use or procure any cotton fiber originating from Uzbekistan.
In 2013, our t-shirts manufacturers established a cotton traceability assessment for its cotton yarn suppliers in order to ensure that the cotton, yarn or products they supplied did not contain cotton originating from Uzbekistan. The suppliers included in the assessment were selected according to several risk factors that include their proximity to Uzbekistan, and the quantities of yarn purchased by our t-shirts manufacturer or third party contractors manufacturing their products.
Our t-shirts are made of cotton ethically produced in the United States. The cotton used by our manufacturers is grown in the United States, including even for our standard t-shirts and imported products. US cotton farmers are required to adhere to strict US labor laws and regulations. These regulations are most likely some of the most stringent in the cotton growing industry globally. They provide workers with ethical workplaces and because cotton is regulated as a food crop, workplace health and safety conditions mirror those of the vast majority of the foods we find on our tables.
Slavery-like practices are used in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields
Every year since 1989, the Government of Uzbekistan, one of the world’s largest exporters of cotton, forces over 1 million of Uzbek citizens to leave their regular jobs and go to the fields to pick cotton for weeks in arduous and hazardous conditions. Many people have died almost every year in fields from extreme heat and accidents, including children who are also forced to work. According to several human rights organizations, slavery-like practices are used in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields.
Human rights organizations, such as the IHF, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and others, define Uzbekistan as “an authoritarian state with limited civil rights” and express profound concern about “wide-scale violation of virtually all basic human rights”.
According to the human rights violations reports, the most widespread violations are torture, arbitrary arrests, and various restrictions of freedoms: of religion, of speech and press, of free association and assembly. It has also been reported that forced sterilization of rural Uzbek women has been practiced by the government. The reports maintain that the violations are most often committed against independent journalists, members of religious organizations, human rights activists and political activists, including members of the banned opposition parties.
Uzbekistan also maintains the world’s second-highest rate of modern slavery, around 4% of the country’s population working as modern slaves. The only country with an higher slavery rate is North Korea. Recent reports on violations on human rights in Uzbekistan indicate that violations are still going on without any improvement.
The 2005 civil unrest in Uzbekistan, which resulted in over 1500 people being killed by the military. These events are viewed by many as a landmark event in the history of human rights abuse in Uzbekistan. A concern has been expressed and a request for an independent investigation of the events has been made by the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, the OSCE and other human rights NGOs.
Forced labor repeats every year during harvest. Provincial government offices order schoolteachers to close schools and enforce quotas in the cotton fields. The local authorities send government and private business employees in order to meet cotton production quotas. The Uzbek government combines these orders with threats, detains and tortures Uzbek activists seeking to monitor the situation, and refuses to address the problem of forced labor.
The forced labor system orchestrated by the government of Uzbekistan violates human rights, holds Uzbek citizens as modern slaves, and condemns future generations to a cycle of poverty. Only the high officials of the corrupt regime in place for more than 30 years, profits from the forced labor and the massive exports of cotton. We join Uzbek citizens in supporting the Call to Boycott Uzbek Textile organized by the victims of governmental persecution.
We are working to ensure that forced labor does not find its way into our products. We are aware of reports documenting the systemic use of forced labor in the harvest of cotton in Uzbekistan. We are collaborating with a multi-stakeholder coalition to raise awareness of this very serious concern, and press for its elimination.
As a signatory to this pledge, we are stating our firm opposition to the use of forced labor in the harvest of Uzbek cotton. We commit to not source Uzbek cotton for the manufacturing of any of our products until the Government of Uzbekistan ends the practice of forced labor in its cotton sector. Until the elimination of this practice is independently verified by the International Labor Organization, we will maintain this pledge. 
The vast majority of the cotton used by our manufacturers is produced in the United States. Notwithstanding this fact, our supplier requires all business partners to confirm, by means of a signed statement, that they do not use or procure any cotton fiber originating from Uzbekistan.
In 2013, our imported t-shirts manufacturers established a cotton traceability assessment for its cotton yarn suppliers in order to ensure that the cotton, yarn or products they supplied did not contain cotton originating from Uzbekistan. The suppliers included in the assessment were selected according to several risk factors that include their proximity to Uzbekistan, and the quantities of yarn purchased by the manufacturer or third party contractors manufacturing their products.
Every year the government of Uzbekistan forcibly mobilizes over a million citizens to grow and harvest cotton. The Uzbek government forces farmers to grow cotton and deliver production quotas under threats of penalty, including the loss of the lease to farm the land, criminal charges and fines. The government forces over a million citizens to pick cotton and deliver harvest quotas under threat of penalty, including expulsion from school, job loss, and loss of social security benefits. The government claim that these forced and unpaid labor are a “duty of patriotism”.
Uzbekistan is one of the world’s largest cotton exporters, and the government of Uzbekistan uses one of the largest state-orchestrated systems of forced labor to produce it.
Forced labor and child labor in the cotton sector of Uzbekistan is unique to the world: it is a state-controlled system, under the direction of a president in power since the end of the Soviet Union, which violates the fundamental rights of millions of Uzbek citizens each year.
Cotton picking is dangerous work. Each year, the forced-labor system of cotton production has claimed the lives of several Uzbek citizens, and many forced to pick cotton are exposed to unknown chemicals in the fields, unsanitary housing, and lack of safe drinking water.
Uzbek citizens and political refugees launched a call to “Boycott Uzbek Textile and Companies Using It”. “We, the undersigned citizens of Uzbekistan, call for an international boycott of Uzbek textile and companies that use it. For the Uzbek textile is produced of cotton harvested using forced labour of children and adults. Foreign investors and partners of Uzbek textile companies must comply with international human rights standards, and press for the Uzbek government to respect human rights. Only independent monitoring by the International Labour Organization can confirm when Uzbekistan ceases the practice of forced labour. We urge the European Union and the United States of America to cancel the trade benefits for Uzbek textile manufacturers, provided by the General System of Preferences. Below is a list of companies in Uzbekistan that feed cotton products into supply chains of Western companies. We call for a boycott.”
Until recently, the government mobilized schoolchildren age 11-15 on a mass scale to pick cotton, leaving schools throughout much of the country effectively closed during the harvest season as pupils from the fifth grade and older and teachers from all grades worked in the fields. In recent years, following bans on Uzbek cotton by international retailers and clothing brands alarmed by reports of widespread mobilisation of children into the fields, the country has embarked on reforms. Yet human rights campaigners say forced labour – and sometimes child labour – still persists.
In 2015 and 2016, the government of Uzbekistan forced more than a million people, including students, teachers, doctors, nurses, and employees of government agencies and private businesses to the cotton fields, against their will and under threat of serious penalties.
The government of Uzbekistan has increased the use of forced adult labor, apparently to compensate for fewer children. Massive mobilization of teachers, doctors, nurses and other adults to the cotton harvest has degraded education and health services. It has also led to widespread extortion of individuals and businesses, with officials demanding contributions individuals and businesses, including multinational enterprises.
Profits of the Uzbek cotton sector support only the inner circle of Uzbek government. Uzbek farmers are forced to meet state-established cotton quotas, purchase inputs from one state-owned enterprise, and sell the cotton to a state-owned enterprise at artificially low prices. The system traps farmers in poverty, and the state profits from sales to global buyers. The profits disappear into a secret fund to which only the highest level officials have access, known as the Selkhozfond.
The cotton ends up in brand-name retail and apparel supply chains and therefore on consumers, even though citizens of Uzbekistan have called for an international boycott of cotton from Uzbekistan, and over 260 global brands have pledged to avoid while forced and child labor continues.
The government of Uzbekistan harasses, detains, and exiles Uzbek citizens who call for recognition of human rights, violating their human rights and denying freedoms of speech and the press.
Uzbekistan is the fifth largest exporter of cotton, estimated export share is 6.5% of the global cotton market.
Currently, cotton is estimated to generate over $1 billion USD in export earnings for the Uzbek government. Profits disappear into an extra-budgetary fund in the Finance Ministry to which only the highest-level officials have access. Meanwhile,farmers and citizens forced to pick cotton incur debt to fulfill their assigned quotas and pay penalties for not fulfilling them.
The Uzbek government owns all land and has monopoly control over agriculture input suppliers, cotton purchasing,and sales. It imposes annual production quotas on farmers and enforces quotas with coercion, including confiscation of property, to enforce them. The government exerts this coercion against farmers via the financial system used for the cotton sector, threats of physical abuse and legal charges.
The Uzbek government is the only legal buyer of cotton. It sets the procurement price for cotton purchased from farmers below its own calculation of production costs. Farmers incur debt in order to fulfill their assigned cotton production quotas, and therefore are unable to hire voluntary labor or invest in good agricultural practices.
Governmental control of the cotton industry is a holdover from the Soviet era. In spite of breaking from the USSR in 1991 and restructuring collectivist practices into private farms, a command economy system continues to exist today.
Many Uzbek citizens (7% of the total population according to World Bank estimates) emigrate to Russia, Kazakhstan,United Arab Emirates, Turkey, South Korea,and Europe in search of decent work.
The International Organization for Migration and government sources have estimated that a quarter of Uzbekistan’s adult population are labor migrants, working abroad due to lack of domestic employment opportunities.
Forced Child Labor
For the first twenty years of Uzbekistan’s independent history, the government closed schools for three months every year and sent more than one million children to pick cotton during the annual cotton harvest.
Following a decade of international pressure, in the 2014 cotton harvest the Uzbek government stopped forcing children to pick cotton. This policy change resulted in more than a million children removed from forced labor and demonstrated the Uzbek government’s ability to unilaterally end state-orchestrated forced and child labor in the cotton sector.
2014 was the first harvest that did not include the mass mobilization of children. However, thousands of children were still sent to the fields in at least three regions in 2014, where local officials mobilized them in order to avoid stiff penalties for failing to meet production targets.
Third-year college students, of whom approximately 8% are under the age of 18, were mobilized across the country, equating to tens of thousands of 17 year olds in the fields.
Reports suggest that mass mobilization of children has not occurred during the harvest of 2015.Unfortunately, the government has not changed policies that ensured the continued, albeit much reduced, use of child labor in the cotton fields. In 2015, the central government continued to order local officials to fulfill their portion of the national cotton production plan under threat of punishment, including dismissal. In some cases, this led local authorities to mobilize child labor rather than risk failing to meet their quotas.
In 2015 the Uzbek government again mobilized third-year high-school students under threat of dismissal from school without exempting students under 18, the legal age for cotton work. Officials continued to force adults to fulfill state-assigned work quotas in the cotton fields, resulting in children helping their parents fulfill their quotas and escape punishment.
Forced Adult Labor
Every year, forced labor is imposed upon 1 million uzbeks citizens
The Uzbek government has always forced adults to pick cotton during the annual harvest and increased its use of adult forced labor when it reduced its use of forced child labor.
University students, government employees, private sector businessmen, and low-income residents are forced to sign “willing volunteer” documents and pick cotton under threat to their education, livelihood, or welfare benefits. -In addition, mass mobilization of education and health-care workers creates a shortage of essential service providers.
Private businesses are also ordered to contribute staff to the harvest and face tax fines if they disobey.
Human Rights Violations
The Uzbek government imprisons, arrests, attacks and intimidates citizens who attempt to report forced labor. It also eliminates political opposition; represses civil rights; controls registered civil-society organizations; restricts freedom of movement; censors internet, telephone and other media; and uses detention and violence to curb human rights monitoring.
As essential elements of its coercive system of cotton production,the Uzbek government denies freedom of association and due process and represses human rights monitors. There are no independent trade unions, and in 2014 the government imprisoned and tortured independent union organizers Fahriddin Tillaev and Nuriddin Jumaniyazov.
Throughout 2015 and 2016, the government increased the frequency and severity of its efforts to silence citizens who report abuse. Officials arrested, beat and filed charges against many human rights activists.
The Uzbek government denies freedoms of association, expression and religion. No independent human rights organizations are permitted to work in the country. Authorities repress all forms of freedom of expression and do not allow any organized political opposition, independent media, free trade unions, independent civil society organizations, or religious freedom. Those who attempt to assert rights, or act in ways deemed contrary to state interests, face arbitrary detention, lack of due process, and torture. Forced labor of adults and children continues in 2017.
Media criticism of the governmental policies incurs prosecution, fines, and prison terms. Torture and human rights’ violations are commonly used by the police and prison administrations. Since 2013,the International Committee of the Red Cross has been unable to visit Uzbek prisons due to lack of cooperation from the Uzbek government.
The government massacred participants in the first and last mass public rally, in Andijan in 2005, and refused repeated international calls for independent investigation.
Human rights defenders face threats of government reprisal, including imprisonment and torture. Authorities block international rights groups and media from operating in Uzbekistan. The government has imprisoned more than a dozen human rights defenders on wrongful charges and has brought charges against others because of their work.
Uzbekistan, the world’s sixth leading producer of cotton, is a prime example of how cotton can severely impact a region’s environment. In the 1950s, two rivers in Central Asia, the Amu Darya and and the Syr Darya, were diverted from the Aral sea to provide irrigation for cotton production in Uzbekistan and nearby Turkmenistan.
Today, water levels in the Aral Sea, once the fourth largest lake in the world, has been reduced to 10% of its area in the last 60 years due to water mismanagement, primarily for cotton irrigation. As the Aral dried up, fisheries and the communities that relied on them failed. Over time, the sea became over-salinated and laden with fertilizer and pesticides from the nearby fields. Dust from the dry, exposed lakebed, containing these chemicals and salt saturated the air, creating a public health crisis and settling onto farm fields, contaminating the soil.
The Aral is rapidly becoming a dry sea and the loss of the moderating influence that such a large body of water has on the weather has made the region’s winters much colder and summers hotter and drier.
The Aral Sea’s surrounding soil, air,and water is heavily contaminated with pollutants from fertilizers and pesticides, driving extraordinary rates of tuberculosis, lung disease, and cancer among the marginalized population of Karakalpakstan
We offer Econscious t-shirts made of 100% organic cotton, bringing you eco-friendly products manufactured with the highest possible environmental and vegan standards, in combination with our 100% organic and vegan print inks. Our organic cotton is also GMO-free and certified by USDA and GOTS. Moreover, the t-shirts are certified vegan by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Shop without being complicit of animal cruelty – Our organic t-shirts does not use any animal-derived fibers and are not tested on animals. Econscious, the manufacturer of our organic products, has partnered with PETA Approved Vegan to get certified 100% vegan and approved by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Promote bio-diversity – Insect and bird life has been found to be as much as 50% greater on organic farms than conventional farms
Social & Economic Benefits – Organic cotton promotes safe work & better livelihoods. Growing organic cotton keeps farmers and their families safe. They are not exposed to toxic chemicals in the field or through their food and water supply. It also means farmers grow more than one crop which supplements their food and income.
Cotton facts – how non-organic cotton is destroying our planet
20,000 liters of water is needed to produce a single t-shirt, according to WWF. 73% of global cotton harvest comes from irrigated land.
Cotton covers only 2.4% of the world’s cultivated land but uses 24% of the world’s insecticide and 16% of pesticides. Cotton is considered the world’s most polluting crop due to its heavy use of pesticides, according to Rodale Institute and WWF.
Cotton agriculture is the second dirtiest industry in the world, second only the oil industry, according to Ecowatch.
77 million cotton workers suffer poisonings from pesticides each year. Growing cotton is a toxic business; it uses a lot of pesticides – putting in peril the lives of women, men, and children in cotton farming communities. According to the World Health Organization up to 20,000 deaths each year are caused by pesticide poisoning in developing countries. In the US alone, more than 10,000 farmers die each year from cancers related to such chemicals. Eight of the top 10 pesticides most commonly used on U.S. conventionally produced cotton were classified as moderately to highly hazardous by the World Health Organization.
Cotton’s pesticides are killing bees. On top of polluting our water and soil, the chemical products used in cotton crops include Neonicotinoids, which were linked to bees deaths. The insecticides used on cotton also include dangerous chemicals called Organophosphates, which were originally introduced by Nazi Germany as nerve poisons during World War II, before it was transformed into a pesticide. Studies find that both Neonicotinoids and Organophosphates contributes to killing bees, which is a fact now also recognized by the EPA.
Birds decline – Pesticides used in cotton crops, like Neonicotinoids, are also killing at least 67 million of birds every year and are linked to birds decline, according to studies. It is estimated that of the roughly 10% of the birds exposed annually to pesticides on U.S. agricultural lands are killed. This staggering number is a conservative estimate that takes into account only birds that inhabit farmlands, and only birds killed outright by ingestion of pesticides. The full extent of bird fatalities due to pesticides is extremely difficult to determine because most deaths go undetected.
90% of the world’s cotton is genetically modified. More than 270,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide since the introduction of Monsanto’s GMO cotton in just 11 years in India. Monsanto has pushed up prices of seeds by more than 8,000%, pushing the farmers to debt and financial ruin.
The importance of organic cotton
Wearing organic fabrics has a major positive impact on the health of our planet. Organic cotton is grown in a way that uses methods and materials that lessen the impact on our environment. A big effort in the organic movement is to use growing systems that replenish and maintain soil fertility and build biologically diverse agriculture. Organic cotton uses far less water too.
The main benefit of organic materials, however, is that the crops aren’t treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and Genetically Modified Organisms. These toxins are harmful to farmers and workers, us as consumers, and entire wildlife eco-systems.
Conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides than any other crop in the world. It is estimated that each year cotton producers use as much as 25 percent of the world’s insecticides; an incredible amount for one just one crop.
These chemicals can be deadly. Such pesticides poison farmers all over the world. Factory workers also have to breathe in their fumes during the manufacturing process.
Aldicarb, cotton’s second best-selling insecticide and most acutely poisonous to humans and wildlife, is still used in 25 countries, including the U.S., where 16 states reported it in their groundwater. The dangers are recognized by the EPA and they have signaled its upcoming phase out.
To make matters worse, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has also found that pesticides unintentionally kill at least 67 million birds annually in the U.S.
These chemicals seep into run-off water after heavy rains, poisoning lakes, rivers and waterways. Pesticide residue has been increasingly discovered in foods, farm animals and even breast milk. Not only are these carcinogens responsible for thousands of cases cancer in adults, they are particularly harmful to young children who can develop debilitating neurodevelopmental effects.
We even feel the harmful effects of non-organic cotton and fabrics in our daily lives. Irritated skin, rashes and even headaches and dizziness can be caused by the chemical residue trapped in the threads.
If our choices literally kill our farmers, destroy our rivers and streams and endanger our youth we have an obligation to consider organic along with style and fit. It’s that important.
Conventional cotton is one of the top four GMO Crops.
95% of the cotton seed market is controlled by GMO Giant Monsanto
By making the cotton crops resistant to pesticides using GMO, farmers are encouraged to use even more pesticides with little adverse effects to the crop. This makes an already toxic business potentially even more toxic for the environment.
The suicide rate among Indian cotton farmers has skyrocketed since the introduction of Monsanto’s BT cotton in 2002. The price of seeds has also skyrocketed, and with little alternate options, farmers are being stretched thin. About one Indian farmer killed himself every 30 minutes in 2009, for a grand total of 17,638 in that year alone. Their harvests are low and prices are high. The suicide phenomena has become known as “The GM Genocide”.
A number of social activist groups and studies proposed a link between genetically modified cotton and farmer suicides. Monsanto’s BT cotton was claimed to be responsible for farmer suicides. The BT cotton seeds from Monsanto cost 8000% more than ordinary ones. The higher costs forced many farmers into taking ever larger loans, often from private moneylenders charging exorbitant interest rates (60% a year). The moneylenders force farmers to sell their cotton to them at a price lower than it fetches on the market. According to activists, this created a source of debt and economic stress, ultimately suicides, among farmers. Increasing costs in farming associated with decreasing yields even with use of BT cotton seeds are often quoted cause of distress among farmers in central India.
Farmers are killing themselves so that we can have our GM cotton t-shirts and socks. It’s difficult to truly grasp the gravity of this matter, but the fact is—it’s happening now and it’s happening, in a large part, due to the GMO industry.
Uzbekistan is a good example of the environmental destruction caused by cotton farming. Today, water levels in the Aral Sea, once the fourth largest lake in the world, has been reduced to 10% of its area in the last 60 years due to conventional cotton.
Over time, the sea became over-salinated and laden with fertilizer and pesticides from the nearby fields. The Aral Sea’s surrounding soil, air, and water are heavily contaminated with pollutants from fertilizers and pesticides, driving extraordinary rates of tuberculosis, lung disease, and cancer among the population. This situation is creating a public health crisis and settling onto farm fields, contaminating the soil.
Read our blog article about Uzbekistan’s cotton to learn more.
Fair price for sustainability – why organic cotton is more expensive
When you buy organic cotton you are investing in water conservation, cleaner air, better soil and farmer livelihoods. Less than 1% of the cotton grown in the world is organic, so due to low offer and demand, the cost of organic cotton is therefore higher. However, with demand on the rise, more choices will become available.
Learn more about organic cotton
Today there are many organizations working to educate people about the benefits of organic agricultural methods in an effort to promote the growth of organics globally.
Two types of printing options are available: ink printing (digital direct / D2G) or flex printing (vinyl heat transfer). For more information on the types of available impressions and their different characteristics, click here.
Ink printing (pixel files)
► Recommended resolution: 3000x3000px (300DPI)
► Maximum file size: 10MB
► Accepted file formats: .PNG (Recommended) .GIF .JPG (No transparent background) BMP (no transparent background)
► Size adjustment: You can always decrease the image size without loss, whereas increasing the size may result in a distorted and more “pixelisated” result.
Pixel graphics are used as the master copy for Digital Direct printing. These graphics are printed on the shirt exactly as they were uploaded. If your graphic contains a background, this will also be printed as it appears.
A common desire is to print a cropped element of an image without the background. A white background is not sufficient here as printing the design – even on white products – would result in printing the white area as well. This is why the background needs to be transparent so that our printers will ignore it.
If you do not want the background to be printed on the shirt, you must crop your design (meaning to cut your design from the background). By doing this, you make your design’s background transparent.
Most graphics editing software programs show transparent backgrounds as a white-gray checkerboard pattern. If you upload a graphic with a transparent background, the color of the shirt will appear in those areas after the printing is finished.
Note:The PNG format is recommended for optimum quality. Most other formats do not recognize transparent zones and automatically add a white background to the graphic while recording.
Flex printing (vector files)
► Accepted file formats: .AI .SVG .EPS
► Image size:
We recommend a maximum size of 11″x11″ (28x28cm) to make your design printable on as many products as possible. The maximum printing area is 15″x15″ (38x38cm).
► Line thickness:
Lines as well as other parts of your design need to have a thickness of at least 1.5mm. The gap between 2 separate areas cannot be less than 1mm.
► Convert to curves and paths:
Objects and texts selected for print must be converted to curves and paths. Pixel graphics cannot be used.
► Anchor points: Use a minimal number of anchor points. Maximum 2000 anchor points by colors (max 6000 for a 3-colors design)
Using print on demand production model makes it challenging for us to offer competitive wholesale prices compared to screen-printing because each t-shirt is printed individually and we pay the same production cost, whether we print 1 or 100 t-shirts. Considering that the profit margins are lower than average using this printing method, it limits our options for discounts on large quantities. To learn more, please see the following blog article: Why are we using print on demand?
However, orders of minimum 50 t-shirts with the same design are eligible to wholesale screen-printing discounts ranging from 50% up to 75%.
Option #1 – Quantity discounts using print-on-demand
Combine products, designs and printing techniques at will. All items from our shop are eligible for quantity discounts, including customized clothing.
10% off orders of 10 articles or more using promotion code MOLOTOV10
15% off orders of 25 articles or more using promotion code MOLOTOV15
25% off orders of 40 articles or more after adding our additional cash back discount (details below)
Equivalent to free shipping plus a discount on the order – the total reduction exceed the shipping costs
On top of the usual promotions, we offer an additional 10% cash back discount on orders of 40 items or more, which gives you a total discount of 25%. Just checkout using promotion code MOLOTOV15 to get an automatic discount of 15%, then contact us after placing the order on the website and we will refund an additional 10% on each article, so in total, you get 25% OFF.
Note: Coupon codes from promotion campaigns may not be used in combination with the volume discount. See full terms & conditions.
Option #2 – Wholesale t-shirts screen-printing (50+ with same design)
Orders of 50+ items with the same design are eligible for wholesale screen-printing starting at 50% discount
Up to 75% discount on large orders
Pick a design from our shop or use your own image
Free delivery in the United States. International orders will be required to pay shipping costs.
Notes: Pricings are based on 1-color screen-print with Gildan Standard T-Shirt (Unisex, 100% Cotton). Size range S-M-L-XL-XXL.
Please allow from 5 to 14 days for production and shipping. All sales are final – our return policy does not apply to bulk orders.
Every product you order here is an individual item, printed on demand and manufactured by hand for you. That’s what distinguishes us from other e-commerce retailers. Here are the reasons why we use this production mode.
Against the commercial approach
Our activist cooperative is not a supermarket devoted to the over-consumption of t-shirts. Although we offer many different products, we do not hold any inventory and we don’t have a storefront. We could view it as we’re offering a service rather than selling something – you choose your design and clothing type, then we print it for you.
By printing on-demand according to orders, we can offer virtually unlimited designs choices because the printing process takes place only after a purchase. This production model makes it possible to offer a wide variety of designs covering a larger range of social themes that represent all struggles and social causes, even the lesser known. That’s why we have such a large products range, colors options and sizes, without risking over-production or waste.
Unlike us, conventional clothing shops usually use classic screen-printing as printing method. This method requires large investments to print batchs of hundreds of t-shirts, which would greatly limits the quantity of designs available for sale and their colors options. Batch screen-printing, with its minimum quantity constraints, usually puts shops in a position where they’re forced to focus only on the best-selling designs to lower the investment’s risk – and that’s exactly this mainstream capitalist logic that we want to avoid reproducing. We prefer variety rather than popularity dictated by market trends.
A question of budget and logistic
As a small cooperative who started with a very small budget, the economic factor was the main reasonthat guidedour choice, since on-demand printingrequires no major investmentand minimizesthe costs associated withour operations. More importantly, it guarantees our autonomy so that we don’t have to take huge loans from the banks and pay interests with our customer’s money.
The primary purpose why this shop was started was toraise funds for donations to activist causes.If we had chosen to multiplyinvestmentsand take loans,we would spendmore time repayingour debtsrather thanraising money to make donations – which would mean turning the shop into a capitalist business just like any other.
Wecurrently offera selection of over3000 differentdesignsavailable on10types of clothing andabout 10colors options. The average cost per unit with batch screen-printing would be around $5.00 for 100 t-shirts. Imaginethe incredible investment itwould represent: 3000*10*10*$5*100= $150,000,000.It means we would have toinvestan incredible amountof 150 million of dollarsto maintain ourcurrent inventory with screen-printing. This estimate doesn’t accounts higher priced products (like hoodies) andthe costs relatedto inventory storage.
Holding no inventory makes it possible to constantly change our catalog by adding new designs and removing those that never gets sold after a while. On the other hand, screen-printing would force us to keep only the best selling t-shirts since we would have to invest a lot of money to print them in large batches.
The shipping factor
Another factor thatsignificantlyinfluenced ourdecision to optforon-demand printingis our partnershipwith a printing company located in USA. The postal servicesin the United Stateshave much lower pricing forinternational shipping compared to other countries. It would cost more than double of thecurrent feesto ship thet-shirts from CanadaorFrance. So evenif we’re losingmoney due to thehigher production costs, it allows us to offer lower shipping prices.
The disadvantage of higher production cost
For us, this choice also hassome disadvantages, mainly its higherthan average production cost.Since eachshirtisindividually printed, we pay a production cost on a per-unit basis, unlike screen-printingwhichprovides discounted wholesale price. In other words, this means that our production cost is always the same whether we product 1 or 100 t-shirts. Smaller margins makes it very challenging for us to offer competitive wholesale pricing and quantity discounts.
Towards autonomy and self-sufficiency – our projects for the future
Not havingthe financial means tobuy ourown machines, we went fora partnership withan americanprintingcompany.In the long term, we hope to be able of self-sustaining our production means by buying ourown printing machines(DTG on-demand digital printer andFlex printer) and other equipements.
But thisrepresents an investment ofseveral thousands dollarsand serious logistic challenges. However, we are always pushing things further and we are confident that the cooperative will continue to evolve in a positive way while showing it’s possible to do things differently.
We use only natural inks, free from any chemicals.
Mostprinters useplastisol ink consisting of chemicalsderived from petroleum.Although beingmoresimple to use,plastisolinks containPVC andphthalates, two dangerous chemicals verydamaging to the environment and have been linked to numerous medical disorders. Theplastisolinksalsorequire the use ofharmful solventsin the printingprocessandvarious ozone-depleting chemicalsthat contribute tothe greenhouse effect.
Our inks do not contain PVC or phthalates and don’t need solvents to clean the screens down after they’ve been used. Onlywater is usedthroughout the process– fromprinting tocleaning.
Ourinks do not containany chemicals knownto contribute tothe greenhouse effectand ozone depletion, unlike many products commonlyused in othertypes of inkssuch aschlorofluorocarbon(CFC),Hydrochlorofluorocarbon(HCFC), aromatic hydrocarbons or othervolatile solvents. They don’t contain lead or any heavy metals. In fact, Permaset Aqua inks do not contain any toxic chemicals at all ! Not even mineral turpentine like other water based inks on the market.
Worried tominimize its impact onthe environmentbyany means possible, we use only100% green energy powered webservers.
Furthermore, In addition, all the clothing we use is manufactured in factories that consume significant amounts of green electricity via renewable energy sources. The manufacturers are also committed to reducing energy consumption with transparent goals and targets.
We offer locally produced t-shirts like American Apparel which use up to 80% organic cotton. The whole chainofproduction is locatedin the same place, thus minimizingthecarbon footprint. Allwaste is recycledby the factory and the manufacturing plant is powered by solar energy.
Even for our regular t-shirts, we made sure that the manufacturers we use have strong eco-friendly policies in place in order to reduce the environmental impact and preserve the natural resources used in the manufacturing processes.
Manufacturers commitments to environmental sustainability:
ENERGY – Improving energy efficiency and reducing manufacturer’s reliance on fossil fuels by finding alternate sustainable energy sources and production processes.
WATER – Optimizing manufacturer’s water use throughout environmental processes such as minimizing water use and enhancing the quality of wastewater management.
CO2 EMISSIONS – Reducing manufacturer’s greenhouse gas emissions through energy conservation efforts and finding alternate sustainable energy sources.
WASTE REDUCTION – Reducing waste through recycling and the establishment of waste prevention measures at all stages of the production cycle.
ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE – The manufacturers comply with all applicable environmental protection laws and implemented a number of audits, evaluation and verification methods to ensure that they are compliant with all applicable environmental laws and regulations, as well as the internal Environmental Policy.
OEKO-TEX CERTIFICATION – The manufacturers are certified by OEKO-TEX, the mostinternationally recognizedseal, ensuring that the fabric iseco-friendly andthat the company complies with substances harmful to the environment.
Our supplier insists that all business partners obtain the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification. This unique certification provides the textile and clothing industry with a globally uniform standard for the objective assessment of the presence of harmful substances. Raw materials, intermediate and end products at all stages of processing throughout the manufacturing chain, including accessories, are tested and certified. The laboratory tests currently comprise around 100 human, ecological and performance-related test parameters based on international test standards and other recognized testing procedures.