Sustainability & Ethical Workplace – Sunny Side Clothing UK

Sustainability & Ethical Workplace

Organic cotton

Organic cotton comes from seeds that have not been genetically modified (non-GMO) and is grown without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilisers. All of our t-shirts are 100% organic cotton. 

The fact that no chemical pesticides or fertilisers are used is not only good for our planet but also for the farmers as these can be very toxic to humans. 

Journey of the t-shirts

The cotton for our t-shirts is sourced in India where it will also go through the Ginning mill. Then, it moves to Bangladesh where the fabric will be knit, dyed, wash, cut, sew, iron and packed before being sent in Belgium for distribution. We estimate that the t-shirts travel nearly 24,000 km to get from the cotton fields in India, to our factories in Bangladesh and then finally to the Port of Antwerp, Belgium. Of course, all our transport partners in the process act in a sustainable way. From there our t-shirts will be sent to a city near Bath in the UK to be printed and embroidered. 

Certifications

The t-shirts are GOTS certified which is the worldwide leading certification body for the production of organic fibres and is based on both ecological and social criteria. It guarantees that cotton is organically grown without the use of GMO seeds, or any harmful chemical products (such as pesticides, fertilisers and insecticides) that are dangerous for the environment or the health of farmers or factory workers. It ensures traceability of products from the field to the final customer, including transaction certificates at each and every stage of production.

They are also OEKO-TEX certified. It is a safety standard for the assessment of harmful substances in fabrics. Its aim is to ensure products are free from harmful substances and follow REACH, the EU regulation which restricts the toxicity of chemicals and heavy metals in all consumer products.

Additionally they have the the Organic Content Standard (OCS) certification that verifies the presence and amount of organic material in a final product. It also tracks the flow of the raw material from its source to the final product, but does not take into account social criteria, such as working conditions.

Finally they are PETA-Approved meaning our suppliers do not conduct or commission any animal tests on ingredients, formulations, or finished products and none of our products contain any animal derived components.

Eco print and embroidery

Our UK partner for printing and embroidery is all about sustainability. They use 100% solvent free water-based ink for all garment and paper printing and plastic free embroidery threads for embroidery.

Minimising resources is also a priority for them. For example, garments are not sent into plastic packaging as most do, they reuse boxes and packaging where possible to avoid waste and they use an eco-friendly energy supplier.

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Responsible production in Bangladesh

Made in Bangladesh... that sounds scary I know but read more to learn about the conditions in which our t-shirts are made and why it is important to keep producing garments.

Did you know that the textile industry is one of the most critical drivers of annual GDP growth and accounts for 80% of the total of Bangladesh's exports (worth USD 35 billion) and employs 4.4 million people, most of whom are women? That is really important to note because without foreign garment production in Bangladesh, these 4.4 millions people would not have a way to make a living. But is has to be done right and with the people's wellbeing at heart. 

Worker's wellbeing is a priority for us which is why we work with a supplier that is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation. Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) is an independent organisation that works with apparel brands, garment workers and textile industry influencers to improve labour conditions in garment factories. FWF has eight key pillars that are labour standards based on the conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Here they are

  • Employment is freely chosen
  • No exploitation of child labour
  • No discrimination in employment
  • A legally binding employment relationship
  • Payment of living wage
  • Reasonable work hours
  • Safe and healthy work conditions
  • Freedom of association

The various partners our supplier works with does not only guarantee the legal minimum wage and fundamental legal requirements such as in-house childcare facilities, maternity leave and medical cover, but also offer additional benefits to their workers. These benefits include free transportation, performance and attendance bonuses and increasing pay scales. The minimum wage in Bangladesh is getting better. The last wage increase in Bangladesh was implemented in December 2018, increasing the minimum wage by over 40%. But we certainly won’t leave things there, and remain committed to finding new and innovative ways of paying workers a truly living wage.

Read the social report from our t-shirt supplier here.

 

Printed and embroidered in the UK 

Having a part of the process done locally was really important for us which is why we have decided to partner with a UK based printer and embroider. Why was is so important? We believe it is important to support the local economy as well even if it brings the cost price a bit higher. 

When it comes to the well being of their employees, they are part of the they are a living wage employer recognised by the living wage foundation. Living wage foundation is an organisation in the UK that accredit employers that pays the living wage. The real Living Wage is the only UK wage rate that is voluntarily paid by 7,000 UK businesses who believe their staff deserve a wage which meets everyday needs - like the weekly shop, or a surprise trip to the dentist.