People Tree: 25 Years and Counting

People Tree, a true pioneer of Fair Trade and sustainable fashion, will celebrate its 25th birthday this year.

People Tree was the first clothing company to receive the World Fair Trade Organisation Fair Trade product label. It aims to be 100% Fair Trade throughout the entire supply chain, and to support producers’ efforts towards economic independence. People Tree also work to protect the environment by promoting sustainable resource use. They wish to set an example to business and the government, proving ethics and aesthics can coexist by using a business model based on partnership, people-centred values and sustainability.

So how exactly does the business work?

People Tree use an Internal Monitoring System to ensure that Fair Trade as defined by the 10 principles of WFTO is maintained throughout the supply chain. They aim to maintain long term relationships with their Fair Trade groups, providing training to artisans and farmers so they can improve their skills, strengthen their businesses, and deepen their social impact. People Tree also make 50% advance payments on orders to help farmers and producers finance Fair Trade.

You can meet the makers here: http://www.peopletree.co.uk/about-us/who-makes-our-products

What about environmental sustainability?

People Tree designs garments to be produced by hand as much as possible, so products have small carbon-footprints. They promote natural and organic cotton farming, avoiding the use of damaging chemicals in production. They also try to recycle as much as they can to protect water supplies and forests in the environments, as well as using recycled materials where possible.

People Tree have been working hard to get their organic cotton clothing certified by the Soil Association. This guarantees that their manufacturing processes meet Global Organic Textile Standards. A number of pieces already have this certification so look out for the mark on the website.

Find out more: http://www.peopletree.co.uk/about-us/sustainable-fashion

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So People Tree sounds pretty perfect right? Mia Hadrill, People Tree spokesperson, talks about how it is not good enough for only a handful of fashion brands to be operating in a mindful manner.

“But since the fashion industry is the second most polluting after oil, there is still much more work to be done,”.

She promotes the film-documentary The True Cost, which shows the social and environmental impact of fashion (read more here).

“It shares stories from across the world and details just how important a fairer fashion system is.”.

It is not enough to simply recognise the great efforts companies like People Tree go to to protect their people and the planet. We should be questioning why so many global, successful companies are not ensuring the safety and survival of their workers or the environment. We need to demand that all companies start operate like People Tree in order to protect our future.

To celebrate their 25th anniversary, People Tree will be releasing a new designer collaboration for spring/summer with Dame Zandra Rhodes. It will feature a palette of soft colours using 100% certified organic cotton from India and some of Rhodes’ archive prints. Read about the launch event here and check the website to shop: http://www.peopletree.co.uk/

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