Ethics & Fair Trade

Ethics and fair trade standards

Advantages of our 100% organic t-shirts (PETA Approved Vegan)

Click here to read our full article about organic t-shirts

We offer Econscious t-shirts made exclusively of 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).

 

Why Organic ? Here are the environmental benefits of organic cotton

 

Organic and vegan certifications

Our organic t-shirts are certified 100% organic and approved by the USDA under strict production and labeling requirements, including annual inspections by the certifier. The cotton is also certified by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Control Union (SKAL). Cotton clothing is only organic if it is certified to an organic cotton standard – we guarantee no greenwashing!

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).

 

Our eco-friendly printing inks are also certified vegan and organic.

 

Source: In 2014, Textile Exchange commissioned a Life Cycle Assessment on organic cotton and found significant, measurable environmental benefits compared to conventional.

 

 


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Origin of our fair trade certified cotton

Our commitment to ethically-sourced cotton

Our t-shirts are made of cotton ethically produced in the United States. The vast majority of the cotton used by our manufacturers is grown in the USA, including even for our standard t-shirts and imported products. American 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.

Click here to learn more about our US cotton.

 

We boycott cotton from Uzbekistan

Click here to read our full article about Uzbekistan forced labor.

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.

We endorse the Responsible Sourcing Network coalition against forced labor and we are working to ensure that forced labor does not find its way into our products. 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 knowingly 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.

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.

 


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Why are we boycotting cotton from Uzbekistan?

Click here to read our full coverage of Uzbekistan’s forced labor and reasons behind the boycott 

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.

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.

Our commitment against forced labor in Uzbekistan

We endorse the Responsible Sourcing Network coalition against forced labor in Uzbekistan:

We are working to ensure that forced labor does not find its way into our products. 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.

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. 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.

 

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.

Click here to learn more about our US cotton.

 


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Where are the t-shirts printed and produced?

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 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, ensuring humane working conditions.

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.

 

Origin of our fair trade certified cotton

The vast majority of the cotton used by our t-shirt 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. 

Click here to read more about our fair trade certified cotton

 

We boycott cotton from Uzbekistan’s forced labor.

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.

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. We join Uzbek citizens in supporting the Call to Boycott Uzbek Textile organized by the victims of governmental persecution.

Learn more by reading our coverage of Uzbekistan’s forced labor and boycott call 

 


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Fair labor and environmental certifications

All of our products are approved by industry-leading fair labor certifications and ethical seals, including also our standard t-shirts and imported apparel.

Our products are certified by:

Our t-shirts are made of cotton ethically produced in the United States and it is certified fair trade without any Uzbekistan cotton coming from forced labor.

All of our suppliers must adhere to a strict Code of Conduct providing ethical working conditions. To learn more about ethics and working conditions, we invite you to read this article.

 

Environmental Certifications:

Our products are certified environment-friendly by Oeko-Tex Certification Class 100.

We use organic printing inks approved by eco-friendly certifications.

Our 100% organic cotton t-shirts are certified organic by the USDA and GOTS. They are also certified vegan by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

 


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Ethical Guidelines – Manufacturer’s Code of Conduct and working conditions

We take ethics seriously, bringing you sweatshop-free products without any child labor. All of our t-shirts use fair trade cotton made in USA, including our regular t-shirts. The manufacturer’s working conditions are closely monitored through a transparent Code of Conduct and regular independent audits. In addition, we only use manufacturers who have received various fair trade certifications.

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, inspection and monitoring. [1] [2]

Every manufacturer 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.

The Code of Conduct highlight details about the following labor standards:

  • Legal working hours
  • No child labor or Sweatshops
  • No forced labor or prison labor
  • Equal treatment & policies against discrimination, racism and sexism
  • Dignity in the working environment
  • Working contracts
  • Employees wages
  • Workplace Safety
  • Freedom of Association & Trade Unions
  • Legal Compliance
  • Inspection and Monitoring

Click here to read the full Ethical Guidelines Code Of Conduct

 

We also make sure that even our line of imported products is using manufacturers among the most ethical in the imported clothing industry. The working conditions exceed local standards and out pass the competitors when comparing with similar imported apparel brands.

If imported products are a concern for you, we recommend you to consider buying our local products instead, like American Apparel for example. More options of premium fair labor products are also available using the customization feature to create your own products: https://www.DefendAnimals.com/custom.php

 

Fair-trade, ethically sourced cotton

The vast majority of the cotton used by our t-shirt 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.

We also totally boycott Uzbekistan’s forced labor cotton, click here to learn why.

 


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Information on locally produced t-shirts

Optionally, local products are offered at a premium price point. Our most popular locally produced t-shirts are made by American Apparel, but other options are also available. Since the t-shirts are printed in the United States, our products branded “local” must be 100% made in the USA.

American Apparel is an American textile company manufacturing all its products in its factory in Los Angeles, refusing the use of the sweatshops.

 

American Apparel – Labor standards

American Apparel pays its manufacturing employees an average of $12 per hour. According to the San Francisco Chronicle the average factory worker at the company makes $80–120 per day, or roughly $500 per week compared to the $30–40 made daily at most other Los Angeles-based garment factories. Employees also receive benefits such as paid time off, health care, company-subsidized lunches, bus passes, free English as an additional language classes, on-site massage therapists, free bicycles and on-site bike mechanics, free parking in addition to the proper lighting and ventilation. Every floor of the factory includes free telephones where workers can make and receive long distance phone calls.

In previous years the waiting list for employment at American Apparel has had over 2,000 names on it. The company now however is actively looking for staff following an investigation by US immigration found that 1,500 of its workers lacked the legal immigration documents and were subsequently dismissed.

To learn more about American Apparel’s working conditions, please check the following links:
http://www.americanapparel.com/en/aboutus/how-its-made.jsp
http://www.americanapparel.com/en/aboutus/social-compliance.jsp
http://www.americanapparel.com/en/aboutus/our-values.jsp
http://www.americanapparel.com/en/aboutus/our-community.jsp

 

American Apparel’s pro-immigration stance

As early as 2001, American Apparel has been a vocal advocate for reform of U.S. immigration laws. On May 1, 2002 American Apparel shut down its factory to allow the company’s workers, many of whom are immigrants, to participate in a pro-immigration rally in downtown Los Angeles. Dov Charney, a Canadian, also marched alongside the workers. American Apparel participates annually in the May 1st Immigration March and Rally in downtown Los Angeles. In 2008, they added a route from their factory that eventually connected with other supporters near the city hall. The company’s politics were eventually spun off into the Legalize LA advertising campaign.


In 2009, an ICE audit of American Apparel’s employment records uncovered discrepancies in the documentation of about 25% of the company’s workers, implying mainly that they were undocumented immigrants. About 1,500 workers were let go in September of that year as a result. American Apparel responded with questions of the effectiveness of such an action and said “the firings will not help the economy, will not make us safer. No matter how we choose to define or label them [undocumented immigrants] are hard-working, taxpaying workers.”

In 2009, the company had a “Justice for Immigrants” factory sale in Los Angeles – the proceeds of which benefited organizations such as the Casa Libre Immigrant Children’s Homeless Youth Shelter, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, the Coalition for Humane Immigration Reform of Los Angeles, Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana, and the National Day Laborers Organizing Network

 

American Apparel’s Environmental policies

The company depends on environmentally friendly practices and is known for its innovations in sustainability due to vertical integration. American Apparel manufacturing system is designed around the concept of “Creative Reuse” — which converts excess fabric from one garment template into several additional garments such as bathing suit tops, belts, headbands, bows, bras, underwear and children’s clothing. This otherwise wasted material reduces the amount of fabric the company needs to produce in addition to expanding its product line and saves approximately 30,000 pounds of cotton per week.

American Apparel maintains a bicycle lending program for its employees and according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) it is a vegan-friendly clothing company. As of 2007 the company planned to increase its use of organic cotton within the next four years from over 20% to 80%. American Apparel also sells a line of shirts under the “Sustainable” label that are 100% USDA organic cotton. In 2008, American Apparel purchased over 30,000 pounds of organic cotton known as B.A.S.I.C cotton.
American Apparel installed a 146-kilowatt solar electric system on its factory roof, designed to reduce power costs by at least 20%. These panels power as much as 30% of the factory. The company also recycles its fabric scraps.

 

American Apparel’s Philanthropy


In 2005, the company hosted a car wash benefit with the American Red Cross to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. In addition, they packaged and delivered 80,000 shirts to the relief effort in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. As an underwriter of Farm Aid, American Apparel donates the blank shirts that the organization prints and sells as merchandise. In 2007, right before Christmas, American Apparel donated more than 300,000 articles of clothing, with the giveaway specifically targeting the homeless population of large cities. In 2009, the company had a “Justice for Immigrants” factory sale in Los Angeles – the proceeds of which benefited organizations such as the Casa Libre Immigrant Children’s Homeless Youth Shelter, the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, the Coalition for Humane Immigration Reform of Los Angeles, Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana, and the National Day Laborers Organizing Network

American Apparel also donated more than $400,000 worth of garments to the victims of the Haitian earthquake through Fashion Delivers as well as over 5,000 pairs of socks to the shoe charity Soles4Souls.

 

American Apparel and the LGBTQ+ community

In addition to participating in a variety of immigration protests, the company launched an advertising and advocacy campaign called “Legalize LA”. The campaign featured advertisements in national papers like The New York Times as well as billboards, T-shirts, bus ads and posters. The company also maintains a Legalize LA portion of their website that features news articles relating to immigration reform, the brand and information on the history of the issue.

After the passing of Prop 8 (which defines marriage in the state as one man and one woman) in California in November 2008, American Apparel launched the Legalize Gay campaign. It is similar to the Legalize LA campaign, and shirts with “Legalize Gay” and “Repeal Prop 8” printed on them in the same style as the shirts of Legalize LA are sold by the company.

In June 2012 American Apparel partnered with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation in releasing a new line of T-shirts to celebrate LGBT Pride Month. 15% of the net sales of the shirts were donated to GLAAD. Isis King modeled for this line, becoming American Apparel’s first openly transgender model. In the summer of 2013, American Apparel announced their desire for more “transexy” models. In 2013, American Apparel was named one of TheStreet.com’s “8 Pro-Gay Companies.”

Sources: Wikipedia & official website

 


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Environmental policies and use of natural inks

The shop has various eco-friendly standards in place and ensures that manufacturers operate with respect for the environment. For more information, we invite you to read this blog article:
https://www.DefendAnimals.com/blog/use-of-environment-friendly-ink/

 

Sustainability

  • This website is 100% powered by green energy to minimize the carbon footprint
  • We offer clothes manufactured in factories that use green energy power sources
  • Our locally produced t-shirts use up to 80% organic cotton and the manufacturing plant is powered by solar energy. The whole chain of production is located in the same place, thus minimizing the carbon footprint. All waste is recycled by the factory.
  • We use eco-friendly cotton, ethically-sourced from the United States
  • Organic t-shirts are also available, made with organic cotton certified under the USDA National Organic Program
  • We also offer 100% organic products made with organic cotton certified under the USDA National Organic Program

 

About our 100% natural inks

  • We use only chemical-free water-based inks. Commonly used inks usually contains products known to contribute to the greenhouse effect and ozone depletion
  • Validated by Oeko-Tex Class 1, the highest standard for green certification
  • Certified by the Global Organic Textile (GOTS-3V) for its 100% organic content without chemicals
  • Meets the standards of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC)
  • Approved by the Residues Standard List (RSL)
  • 100% vegan inks. Products are not tested on animals and contains no animal products or animal by-products.
  • Vegetable extracts are certified GMO free.

 


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Are your products vegan? Do you source from manufacturers testing on animals? What is PETA certification?

All of our products are 100% vegan and cruelty-free. The inks and other products used during the manufacturing process does not contain any animal ingredients and are not tested on animals. You can have the peace of mind to shop without supporting animal cruelty!

Our shop has received the PETA-Approved Vegan certification from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which means that all of our products are certified vegan.

Similar to PETA’s “Cruelty-Free Bunny” logo, the “PETA-Approved Vegan” label allows clothing companies 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. All companies that use the logo must sign PETA’s statement of assurance verifying that their product is vegan.

Defend Animals is an official PETA Business Partner. To learn more about this partnership or to see the list of members, please visit the website of PETA Business Friends.

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 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.

 


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