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We wanted to find The Best T-Shirt. Responsibly made from start to finish, with a fully transparent supply chain.
Easy peasy? Not even close. It took a year’s worth of researching different brands and suppliers for us to find a t-shirt that met our standards for the Project JUST tee. We’re delighted to report that we’ve found one, and even more excited to share its journey with you. Take a look through how this t-shirt made its way all the way from India to our offices in New York – and if you’re as impressed as we are, order one for yourself.
The journey of this t-shirt, and every other one like it, begins at the farm. In this case, an organic cotton farm located just outside the city of Ahmedabad, in Gujarat, India.
What makes an organic farm different from others?
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Continental Clothing Co. is licensed by the Soil Association and the Control Union to supply fully certified organic products in accordance with the Global Organic Textile Standard. Licence number DK19090.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
On average, it takes over 20,000 litres of water to produce 1 kg of cotton, which is roughly the amount of cotton used to make a single t-shirt and a pair of jeans. Organic cotton farming not only requires much less water to be grown, but because it completely eliminates the use of pesticides or herbicides, it also does not contaminate the soil and local water sources. Cleaner and healthier soils containing organic matter allow for greater water retention and healthier, deeper root systems, all of which contribute to minimising the impact of cotton farming on water.
Continental Clothing’s Earth Positive Line has specifically chosen to source cotton from this region (Gujarat), because it receives up to 95% of its water naturally, from monsoon rains. Rain fed farming hugely reduces the need for large-scale irrigation projects associated with conventional cotton farming, which often deprive local villages of scarce water resources by draining lakes and rivers.
THE SOCIAL IMPACT
The elimination of the use of chemical fertilisers in organic cotton farming, including herbicides and pesticides, is not only great for the environment – it’s also extremely beneficial for the farmers themselves.
The cotton sourced from organic, low impact cotton farms like these is both planted and picked by hand. The use of only natural fertilisers ensures that the health, wellbeing and working conditions of the farmers is also accounted for – as mandated by the Global Organic Textile Standard.
To view Continental Clothing’s GOTS Certification of Compliance, please click here.
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COIMBATORE, TAMIL NADU
GINNING, SPINNING, SEWING
COIMBATORE, TAMIL NADU
As we move further up the supply chain, Continental Clothing’s Earth Positive line’s social and environmental commitments are carried forward to the ginning, spinning and sewing stages of production, all of which take place at state of the art GOTS certified and Fair Wear Foundation audited facilities located in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, in southern India. Let’s take a look.
The Earth Positive collection is manufactured in facilities that are powered by 30 wind turbines, which harness wind energy and convert it to renewable energy, ensuring energy security, price stability, and most importantly – clean, environmentally friendly energy.
By making the switch to renewable energy, Continental Clothing has reduced its carbon footprint for all EarthPositive® apparel by a remarkable 90%. The 90% reduction has been achieved by a combination of low-impact organic farming, efficiency in manufacturing and transportation, and the use of renewable energy instead of the fossil fuel based grid electricity.
To see the full list of CO2 values for all Earth Positive apparel, please click here.
Since every stage of the production process results in some amount of material leftover or discarded, Continental Clothing tries to minimise its wastage in each step of the way. After the ginning stage, cotton seed is used to make cotton seed oil, and food for cattle. During the spinning stage, shorter cotton fibres are kept aside and used to make lower quality textiles. And finally, at the end of the cutting and dyeing stages, leftover scraps are used for rope, or second quality clothing production.
The facilities also operate a closed-loop purification system that uses treatment ponds, sand filtration and reversed osmosis to convert the waste water into clean water, making sure that all effluents from dyeing are processed properly. An incredible 93% of all waste water is treated and reclaimed, leaving local water systems completely free from any harmful chemicals.
Continental Clothing is strongly committed towards the wellbeing and security of its workers, with respect to their working conditions, their rights and their wages. The company is audited by the Fair Wear Foundation, and in 2016 received a score that placed it in the Leader category in its performance review.
Starting last year, the company introduced the Fair Share Project in collaboration with the Fair Fashion Network and BSD Consulting, that ensures that workers in their Indian factories get paid a living wage, which is higher than the country mandated minimum wage.
The long term aim of this project is to reach the full living wage for all its workers, by covering 100% of the factory’s production within the scheme; at the moment it covers t-shirt and hoodie production, which includes the Earth Positive collection and the Project JUST tee.
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TUTICORIN, TAMIL NADU
Shipping: the final stage of a t-shirt’s journey – making it’s way across the world, from the south Indian port of Tuticorin, all the way to the United States.
One of the greatest contributors to carbon emissions is air travel. In an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, the EarthPositive® collection has a ‘No Airfreight’ policy, using containerized ocean shipping, instead. So the Project JUST t-shirt was literally shipped over (in recyclable packaging made from post-consumer recycled materials!), reducing its footprint to less than 1% of the total.
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CERTIFIED & AUDITED BY
SCREEN-PRINTED WITH ❤️ IN BK
Once it made its way over to us from India, the Project JUST tee was sent to Brooklyn, NY, to be screen-printed by hand with water based inks at Magdalena Concepts. Unlike harmful plastisol inks, water-based inks are durable, feel soft and are low-impact on the environment.
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