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ethically me version numbers

One way to measure our progress and to see what we are achieving is to check each item of clothing for their version numbers.

Each version number has a unique meaning, as outlined below. Every garment will carry a label verifying the version numbers it guarantees.

V1: Fair Child Labour Policy
Under the guidance of our ethical advisor Aisha and Claire Lissaman from Rugmark (www.rugmark.org.uk), we are working to explore this complex issue. We have developed this base criterion:

  • The company does not engage in or support exploitative child labour.
  • Child being anyone less than 14 years of age with the exception of countries that engage in 'lightwork' for young workers and children that are allowed to by law.
  • To see the actual terms click through to our code of conduct.

V2: No Forced Labour / Sweatshops
The company does not engage in or support the use of forced labour.
Employees are not required to lodge deposits or identity papers upon commencement of employment and all are free to leave the company following an agreed term of notice.

To see the actual terms click through to our code of conduct.

V3: Health And Safety Standards
We worked with the ETI and SA 8000 guidelines to cover as many aspects of Health and Safety as possible.

To see the actual terms click through to our code of conduct

V4: Organic Fabrics Used

Why Organic?
Modern farming methods with its emphasis on harsh chemicals and pesticides have created ecological problems. Organic farming addresses this issue by using crop rotation, natural fertilizers and pesticides for pest or weed problems. Not only is this beneficial for the environment, it helps people too, as these chemicals can cause skin allergies.

Cotton
Cotton is one of the most important crops grown. Cultivating cotton can be very destructive to the environment as a result of the strong chemical pesticides used. This leads to soil pollution and the destruction of the natural environment.
Organic cotton is grown without the use of artificial pesticides / fertilizers. This makes the cotton more expensive to produce but in the longer run creates a more sustainable environment.

KBA cotton
This is the highest standard of organic certification in Europe. KBA translates as "controls biological cultivation" referring to biologically cultivated or organic cotton. The cotton is more expensive as it is picked by hand and not with the machine. This is very labour intensive, since all cotton caps do not mature at the same time. Skal, an international organization for organic quality criteria, usually monitors the process.

Certifications
Our organic fabrics are certified through one or more of the following agencies:

  • Skal, an international auditing and certification agency for organic products (EKO trademark)
  • EMAS has created an environmental management system and statement, which are verified by an independent third party.
  • International Association of Natural Textile Industry (IVN), which accords to our suppliers the right to process and market eco-textiles according to their guidelines.
  • The Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative (T.O.C.M.C.), which has created an organic cotton certification program.

V5: Environmentally Friendly Manufacturing Practises

The production of a garment involves a series of actions from cultivating the crop to dyeing / manufacturing the fabric to transporting it to the shops. Ideally we would like to produce a garment that has caused no harm to the environment in this whole process. At present, this is what we can offer:

Dyes
Gentle bleaches and dyes are used in these garments. They are heavy metal and AZO-free and therefore are less toxic to the environment. Low-impact fiber-reactive dying uses far less water than conventional dying. This is more environmentally sound because all dye material is reclaimed and not released as effluent. If chemicals are used, they are biodegradable. They are also free of harmful pesticides.

Manufacturing
All the yarn is woven in audited / certified factories for ethical policies. This is equally true for material woven in Europe, India, Turkey and America. See Certifications

V6: No Discrimination In The Workforce

The company does not allow behaviour, including gestures, language and
physical contact, that is sexually coercive, threatening, abusive or exploitative.

To see the actual terms click through to our code of conduct.

V7: Percentage Of Profits To Charity

ethically me has a number of clothes that are identified as ‘Charity Programme’ garments. In addition to auditing the production methods, we donate 5% of the price of the garment (ex-VAT) to the charities we are working with.

We want to be involved with charities on a project basis rather than just donating money. Since our first collection is being produced in the UK, we decided to get involved with the following charities:

  • Design Kids, a mentoring program working with the youth in Southwark, which will culminate in a fashion show in early September in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall put on entirely by children including the clothes, models, music, lighting, marketing and press (http://www.karrot.org.uk/).
  • In East London we are exploring how best to work with Quaker Social Action, on their Street Cred project. We plan to put money into the loan scheme for small businesses, work as mentors and explore using some of the women as suppliers. (http://www.quakersocialaction.com/)
  • We are in the process of setting up projects with a couple of charities in India, as a large percentage of material is produced there.

V8: Reinvestment In The Community

We believe in engaging in programmes that reinvest in the communities who have made our clothes. We want to emphasize Fair Trade, and work with the communities to develop systems that benefit the community.

Our first project is with Karrot Kidz and we are exploring other programs in London and India, which we will keep you informed about. To us, this is one of the most exciting sides of our business.