A short while back, our CEO Tracey West, was interviewed by Rachael Glazier, the Features Editor at Images Magazine.
Rachael wanted Tracey’s views on what charities look for from their garment producers and to find out how important certain accreditations are to their fundraising efforts and their charity profile.
Rachael produced a great piece and stitched together views from four charities: Bloodwise, Building Heroes, Emmaus UK and ourselves.
It’s a very enlightening read – click here for the full article.
Here’s the opening header for the article, followed by what our CEO had to say:
According to the latest figures from the Charity Commission, there are nearly 170,000 registered charities in the UK. What’s surprising therefore, given the huge diversity of charities in operation, is the ‘one size fits all’ approach taken by some garment decorators when pitching to be a charity’s clothing supplier.
For The Word Forest Organisation, having the right accreditation is the most important aspect of the garments they offer. Tracey West, CEO and fundraiser at the environmental charity that plants trees and builds classrooms in impoverished communities in Kenya, explains: “Raw materials matter and so do working conditions. We sell 100% certified organic cotton items from the EarthPositive range. It’s the base standard from which we work and while we might not have thousands of sales because we recognise it is a bit more expensive, the human cost of producing safe, healthy cotton matters more to us than anything else. For us, it’s global health first, and money in from merchandise second.”
The one-year-old charity launched a range of organic cotton items to help raise funds shortly after it was set up. They are sold online and at events, and are printed by Inkthreadable, which says it is dedicated to operating under ethical and environmentally friendly practices, such as paying above the national living wage, donating garments that have failed quality checks to charity, and using either 100% recyclable or biodegradable packaging for all orders.
The approach has worked. “They seem to have really chimed with funky environmentalists and tree-lovers who absolutely get the value of organic cotton and love the Climate Neutral label inside the garment. It states the item was manufactured ‘solely using renewable green energy from wind and solar power’,” says Tracey.
The charity reviews all of its suppliers regularly. “Due diligence should prompt NGOs to make, at the very least, an annual review of all their suppliers,” she states. “Whilst we are really happy with Inkthreadable, there are no exceptions. We are just coming up to the end of our first year and we do have a formal review date of late April. I must be honest though, we are really happy and another company would have to go a long way to beat their service.”
Tracey would like there to be more drop-shipping services in the UK that offer organic cotton products, while noting that any garment business hoping to impress them would have to show their commitment to caring about the health and wellbeing of the people manufacturing the items, the wildlife in the locale near their business and the planet. “We sniff out greenwash!” she adds.
The Word Forest Organisation’s babygrow is a very popular item, as is its ‘play on words’ adult T-shirt, which Tracey says always goes down well at events: “Possibly because we always tell them we plant a tree for every single item bought; it’s a win-win, planet-pleasing, ethical-fashion statement!”
– end of article –
We don’t have an enormous range at the moment, mainly due to the fact that our chief designer – our CEO – doesn’t have enough creative hours in the day!
We are planning to pin her down onto a drawing pad with some coloured pencils very soon and hope to expand the range in the not too distant future.
Click here to have a look at what we’ve got right now and remember, we plant a tree and buy a few building materials for every single item sold!