Ethical Supply Chain

  • Organic Cotton - better for baby, the planet and the people who grow it

    Chemical free organic baby clothes by Piccalilly Chemical free organic baby clothes by Piccalilly

    It seems obvious why parents might choose to feed their baby organic food, but less obvious why parents should extend this buying choice to include organic baby clothes and organic baby skincare too. If we take into consideration the fact that a baby’s skin is 5 times thinner than an adult’s and it’s the largest organ on our body, then it’s clear that what we choose to put on it is as important as what we choose to put inside it. It’s a fact that organic baby clothes and skincare will limit a baby’s chance of absorbing harmful chemicals and toxins, because these harmful chemicals are not used to create the product in the first place. The process is also kinder to the farmers too, limiting their exposure to harmful toxins. But to understand why you need to understand the difference between conventional cotton farming and organic cotton farming.

    Whilst cotton to many is considered a natural and healthy choice for a baby to wear not all cotton is created equal. Conventional cotton is one of the most polluted and sprayed crops in the world. In fact, while cotton farming only makes up 3% of the total farmed land area, it accounts for 25% of the insecticides and 10% of the pesticides used worldwide, making it one of the most chemically treated crops on the planet. Many of these chemicals are graded ‘hazardous’ by the World Health Organisation. Not only do these chemicals pose risks for the farmers’ health but they’re also expensive and often end up within the water sources of surrounding communities. Chemicals entering local waterways have been associated with allergies, skin rashes, respiratory problems, cancer, birth defects, and hormonal & reproductive effects. It is estimated that over 3 million people are poisoned by pesticides from cotton every year. Conventional cotton farmers have also become locked in a cycle of debt buying genetically modified seeds, pesticides and fertilizers. The result is one of the highest rates of recorded farmers suicides in India, one farmer every 30 seconds for the last 16 years due to high levels of debt.

    But there is another way, The Piccalilly Way. By farming the cotton Piccalilly use to make our baby and kids clothes organically we return to an altogether more natural material that is kinder to the farmer who grows it, kinder to the planet and kinder to wear on delicate skin because there are no chemical residues. This organic method of growing cotton uses significantly less water than conventional methods and mainly relies on rainfall. It also produces less carbon emissions by locking carbon into the soil. And because all the organic cotton is handpicked we create a super-soft finish on our clothes because the fibres are left intact and not broken down by harsh chemicals and mass processing. The result is softer, longer lasting clothing and most importantly kinder for our skin, our planet and the farmers who grow it too.

    Making organic cotton farming profitable and sustainable. Making organic cotton farming profitable and sustainable.
  • Who's hands made your stuff? Shop smarter, shop well this Christmas

    Piccalilly Photographic Exhibition at Malabar Restaurant Piccalilly Faitrade in the Frame photographic exchibition - Chetna Organic supply chain

    Season’s greetings from all of us here at Piccalilly! It’s the first day of advent and a time to actively engage in a more ethical Christmas. It’s also a good time for all of us to consider the true impact our buying choices have on the world around us and how we can start making small changes to improve the working lives and conditions of those less fortunate than ourselves. It’s really encouraging to hear that more and more of us are thinking about the consequences our actions have on the environment and the people who make the products we purchase. But it’s also hard to believe that in our lifetime there are a still a staggering 1 in every 10 children still working as child labourers. Worldwide there are 152 million children involved in child labour and 48% are aged between 5-11 years!! This is not acceptable.

    As consumers the thirst for cheaper and cheaper goods is still growing. The result is that more and more children are being exploited and forced into child labour. So, what is the true cost of a cheap Christmas present? It’s a child’s freedom, a child’s education and a child’s future. When a child is forced to work, they are not free to attend school or be free to be a child. They are also not safe. We wouldn’t accept this for our own children, so why do we accept this as a reality for children less fortunate than our own?

    As we count down the days until Christmas it’s now time for us all to stand up and do our bit to end child labour. We need to shop smarter and THINK before we shop!

    I started Piccalilly, an organic baby and childrenswear brand in 2006, after the birth of my second child. The starting point and DNA for Piccalilly was always that the Piccalilly Way of doing things was always to be environmentally sustainable and work from the ground upwards with a transparent and ethical supply chain that cared for everyone along the way. Top of this agenda has always been that we must know who makes our clothes and care for the most vulnerable people at the bottom of our supply chain. Children working in this supply chain is not acceptable and to limit the risk we’ve worked with the same factory since we launched and ensured it is socially compliant through third party audits including Flo Cert and GOTS. There is a strict no under 18 years of age working policy and it’s comforting to know that our factory has an open door policy for buyers to its entire supply chain, from field through to factory. We make the most of this and love visiting several times a year. Our transparent and ethical supply chain should be the norm, but sadly it’s not. Why? Because as consumers our thirst for cheaper and cheaper goods is growing and western companies keep looking for more affordable (which translates to cheap) manufacturing. Much of this saving comes from labour.

    This week I watched the documentary ‘The Price of Free’ featuring Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi who has been battling against child labour for the last 3 decades. This documentary served as a massive reminder to me why I started Piccalilly in the first place. It also got me thinking that in the run up to Christmas we can all make a difference by becoming more aware of the labour practices of the companies that we buy from and asking them to fight against child labour too.

    It was in 2008 that I first got to hear about the great work of Kailash Satyarthi. I was travelling in India on one of our annual supply chain trips and I was introduced to a project called the Global March Against Child Labour. This led to an introduction to a grassroots movement called the BBA (Bachpan Bachao Andolan) in Delhi, founded by Kailash. We were in Delhi at the time and invited to visit the BBA’s Mukti Ashram in Delhi, to see the good work for ourselves. The ashram operates as a safe place where children rescued from child labour in the region are provided with immediate shelter, food, medical help and counselling until they can be reunited with their families. Astonishingly, the children were surprisingly resilient and fun to be around. Whilst we chose not to document our visit by taking photograph’s, we got the chance to meet and talk to the children and later we were able to donate organic cotton bedding and clothes.

    But why are children still prevalent in our clothing supply chains today, from the cotton fields, to mills and factories? There’s one main reason, they are cheap and very often they are FREE. It’s time that we stop knowingly allowing this practice to continue. We all need to think before we embark on our Christmas shopping and stop engaging with companies who allow the practice of child labour to fuel our desire for cheap clothes and toys. As a consumer you have the power to be a change maker and work towards ending child labour. Get angry about child labour, it’s not acceptable. Buy less but buy well. If a deal seems too good to be true it probably is. And don’t forget to ask more questions and only buy from the brands that you trust.

    Here are some opportunities for you to take action and work towards an end to child labour.

    • I strongly urge you all to take the time to watch ‘The Price of Free’ so you too can understand the issues relating to child labour. https://priceoffree.com/watch-the-film/
    • Spread the word: Share the film with your friends and family and join the movement to raise awareness around the issues and end the practice of child labour
    • As a consumer vote with your £ GB Pounds, $ Dollar, € Euros and choose to buy from the brands you know and trust are socially compliant and child labour free.
    • Ask your favourite brands “whose hands made my stuff”?
    • Shop smarter this Christmas - Buy less and buy well

    Make this Christmas count by exercising your spending power more wisely and making a difference to those that really do count! Help end child labour and ensure all our children are free, safe and educated.

    Hannah Evans - Founder Piccalilly www.piccalilly.co.uk

    #endchildlabour #endchildslavery #ethicalchristmas

    To find out more about the great work of the BBA and Kailash Satyarthi visit the following websites;

    https://priceoffree.com/

    http://bba.org.in/

    http:/globalmarch.org

    WHOMADEOURCLOTHES
  • Our colourful and organic supply chain - A pioneering partnership!

    Our first ever brightly coloured print designs launched to market in 2007 Our first ever brightly coloured print designs launched to market in 2007

    We're fresh back from a recent visit with our manufacturing partners over in India. In 2006 our Founder Hannah Evans visited the Indian factory for the very first time to talk with its owner about setting up Piccalilly and to sample our first collections of Fair Trade and organic baby clothes. In 2007 we introduced our first ever organic baby ranges into the UK market place attending Natural Products Europe and launching the ranges to trade. The entire collection sold out at this show proving that there was a market for bright colourful organic cotton clothes for baby and child. We've worked with the same supply chain since and believe that part of the fair trade process is to strengthen our partnerships rather than move from factory to factory.

    The starting point for Piccalilly was to create a new generation of bright and colourful organic and ethically manufactured baby and kidswear that appealed beyond just the typical ethical consumer. The market at the time was dominated by the colour ecru - colour and prints were completely overlooked by organic brands. Piccalilly took a leap of faith and chose to do something different to ensure that we stood out from the crowd. We worked closely with our organic factory to introduce colour, print and great looks into it's product ranges and we've been leading the way ever since. This year our fabulous designs and great looks were recognised when we won the prestigious Junior Design Awards and we were awarded Platinum for 'Best Eco Fashion Brand', a sure sign that we're getting it right!

    We're delighted to have teamed with a pioneering organic factory that understands the entire supply chain and works from the ground upwards, rewarding the farmers who grow our beautifully organic cotton. By offering Fair Trade premiums and also giving the Chetna farmers a 10% share in the factory profits a partnership has been formed that is transparent and fair from start to finish. All our organic cotton is sourced through Chetna Organic, a Fairtrade initiative that works with small and marginal farmers towards improving their livelihood options and making farming a sustainable and profitable occupation. Our manufacturing partner pre-finances the cotton and takes ownership direct from the farmers ensuring 100% transparency and a guaranteed authentic supply chain for our organic cotton. This isn't normal practice within the garment industry but we strongly believe it's the right way to go about business. It also allows us to say that we create clothing that really does know where it's coming from!

    So, this is the Piccalilly way of creating our organic baby and kids clothes, and being the very best that we can is key. Creating the very best quality and the best looking baby and kids clothes whilst using the best supply chain is our mission. We regularly choose to visit the supply chain to discuss new methods of organically manufacturing our ranges. Bright colour and fabulous print designs each season require a great amount of technical understanding from our in-house design team. We recently took one of our newest recruits, Lauren, to see first hand the process of making our clothes. Lauren got a guided tour of the factory as well as visited the printers who print our lovely fabrics. It was a great opportunity to talk through with the Indian team the technical challenges and improvements that have been made to achieve the intricate print designs we are now creating season after season. We very much hope you'll agree that our close partnership and attention to manufacturing detail is worth while to ensure that Piccalilly remains ahead of the game in creating authentic fair trade and organic clothes for baby and child.

    Lauren is given a guided tour of the factory by the owner and shown all the in-house processes. Lauren is given a guided tour of the factory by the owner and shown all the in-house processes.

     

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