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Ethical and Sustainable

Integrity, honesty and respect for the planet and its people are at the heart of everything we do at Earthmonk.  This is one of the key reasons why we are supporting sustainable development projects in the Peruvian Amazon through The Chaikuni Institute.

In the many decisions that a company such as ours makes in the sourcing, manufacturing and distribution process, here are the ethical and sustainable issues that we think you will care about the most.

Organic Cotton

Many of us already know that pesticides are commonly used on crops. What many of us don’t know is how deadly these chemicals are.  Not only are they poisonous chemicals that affect the land and its delicate ecosystem, thousands of cotton pickers die every year from the toxic effect of the pesticides sprayed on the crops they handle.

Organic cotton is a natural fibre that is renewable and biodegradable. It grows free from any harmful chemicals and is therefore better not only for the environment but also the lives, families, communities and farms that grow the cotton.  It also means that you get to wear clothing that has no pesticide residue on it and that has to be better for your skin.

Ethical manufacturing practices

Clothing

We believe it’s essential to make good quality products that will last, manufactured in an ethical environment where the factory provides the highest standards of care for their staff. When we discovered Vipaltex, a textile manufacturer based in Porto, Portugal we knew we had found a company whose values were in line with our own ethos.  Vipaltex is a family run business and, as you can see from the photos, the staff work in the kind of factory environment all garments should (ideally) be made in.

All Earthmonk clothes are made to our original designs by the factory. Manufacturing in Portugal does mean that our production costs are higher, but we hope you will agree that the end result is worth it, both from an ethical and quality standpoint.

Click here to see a copy of the factory’s organic cotton manufacturing certificate.

Hats

Our beanies are made using New Zealand Wool farmed with voluntary agreements to avoid the controversial practice of ‘Mulesing.’ They are hand knitted in Nepal within the family home by women who receive good wages for working fair hours.  The production and shipping is Sedex accredited and there is an annual contribution to Carbon Footprint Ltd to offset emissions created in transporting the products.  There is also a  contribution made to community initiatives in Kathmandu Valley following the disastrous earthquakes of 2015.

Water- based screen printing links

Hand screen printing is one of the most popular and high-quality methods used in printing T-shirts. It ensures that the end product has a soft feel where the inks have actually absorbed into the fabric.  There are pros and cons in using the standard plastisol inks and water-based inks. After much research, we have gone with the water-based inks as they are less toxic, last longer and are softer to the touch. While they require more energy to cure, we think that’s better than the plastisol inks which use less energy to produce but are chemically more hazardous to people and to the environment. Our hand screen printing is carried out in Portugal through Vipaltex.

Environmentally friendly mail bags

As soon as we started looking into packaging, we hit on biodegradable Biothene mail bags. Developed in the 1970s by the Royal College of Forestry, Stockholm, this incredible product is made from a material that starts to degrade the minute it is exposed to sunlight. With heat, the process is speeded up. Within 12-18 months the material has been broken down into small particles which themselves degrade naturally into a completely non-toxic residue.  This is why your garments arrive in a rather dull looking grey bag!

Carbon footprint

Whilst we acknowledge there is an inevitable carbon footprint resulting from our manufacturing, transportation and dispatch process, we hope that our support of the Chiakuni Institute goes some way to redress this balance.