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ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTIONS

1. WHAT IS AN ETHICAL FASHION BRAND?
Essentially the term “ethical fashion” means that a brand is aiming to reduce harm to people, animals and the planet by producing an item that actively reduces their impact from design, fabrication, labour, production and distribution.

At MG/B we consider the impacts of our garment every step of the way and look to continually improve where possible.

2. WHERE ARE OUR GARMENTS MADE?
Our garments are made by leading Fairtrade factory Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills Pty Ltd (RCM-ORGANIC) and based in Kolkata India.

RCM-ORGANIC create garments for some the best brands in the world and are a highly respected factory.

They have created a partnership called The Chetna Project, a cotton supply and manufacturing arm of RCM. They work with a group of small and marginal cotton farmers with the aim of improving the livelihoods of these farmers by cultivating a sustainable and profitable occupation for them.

You can read more about them here.

3. HOW DO WE GUARANTEE WORKERS ARE BEING PAID A LIVING WAGE?
The core of why we exist is to create a fairer and more sustainable planet for all, which is why our underwear carries the Fairtrade and GOTS certifications.

Fairtrade is one of the largest most diverse global movements for change, working with 1.7 million farmers and workers by creating an essential safety net for producers by setting minimum prices for all major commodities, including cotton.

Fairtrade believes the best way to eliminate poverty is to pay farmers a fair price for their produce and workers a fair wage for their labour.

Fairtrade are the only global sustainability standard, which is equally owned and managed by producers, for producers, while Fairtrade workers are protected by strong, transparent standards.

They also support women to set up their own businesses and they train them to become entrepreneurs and community leaders.

Fairtrade standards are an essential development tool which go way beyond certification.

For farmers and workers, Fairtrade means:

  • Prices that aim to cover the average costs of producing their crop sustainably – a vital safety net when market prices drop
  • The Fairtrade Premium – an extra sum of money paid on top of the selling price to invest in business or community projects of their choice
  • Decent working conditions and a ban on discrimination, forced labour and child labour
  • Access to advance credit ahead of harvest time
  • Being able to plan more for the future with more security and stronger relationships with buyers
4. HOW CAN YOU BE CERTAIN OUR COTTON IS ORGANIC?
Our underwear carries the GOTS certification which is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent third-party certification of the entire textile supply chain.

Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic, persistent pesticides or synthetic fertilisers.

In addition, it includes welfare standards for animal husbandry and prohibits genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

For you, the use of organic cotton in your underwear protects you from being exposed to toxic chemicals while creating breathability against the skin. Also, organic cotton underwear has better sweat absorption, which can prevent any form of yeast and bacteria growth in sensitive areas of your body.

Quite simply it’s the purest and healthiest organic cotton in the world.

5. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CONVENTIONAL COTTON AND ORGANIC COTTON?
The Textile Exchange commissioned a Life Cycle Assessment for conventional versus organic cotton and found that organic cotton was far better for the environment:

  • Using 91% less water
  • 62% less energy
  • 46% less CO2
  • 70% less soil acidification
  • No GMOs or toxic chemicals

Unlike conventional cotton it does not require excessive amounts of water to grow and unlike bamboo, it doesn’t require intense chemical treatment before it can be usable.

Organic cotton is also incredibly soft on the skin, low-allergenic and takes to natural dyes quite easily.

6. WHAT DYES DO WE USE?
The GOTS certification standards for dying fibres is one of the most stringent in the world. They don’t focus solely on the dye, but also consider the end-to-end process and final textile safety for customers.

This means they don’t use conventional dyes, instead we use ‘low impact’ dyes which have significantly less harmful impacts. Using these dyes compared to conventional dyes means:

  • Less water usage than conventional dyes
  • Less chemical and grey water runoff into the environment
  • The ban of AZO-Dyes (a family of dye groups that contain toxic compounds ranging from chlorine bleach to known carcinogens)
  • No heavy metals
  • No toxic chemicals
  • They meet the European Union Criteria of eco-friendly pigments
7. WHERE ARE OUR FABRICS SOURCED AND MILLED?
Our cotton suppliers below all specialise in working with and supporting small scale organic and fair trade cotton farmers.

These organisations provide technical, agricultural, economic and marketing support to its members to improve sustainability in farming and increased profitability for them.

These organisations are:

CHETNA ORGANICS

Based in Hyderabad, they work with about 35,000 small-scale farmers throughout the rainfed regions of central India.

chetnaorganic.org.in

SUMINTER ORGANICS

Suminter India Organics produces high-quality natural, organic ingredients and materials in socially responsible, environmentally sustainable conditions.

They work closely with over 20,000 farmers to grow, harvest and process organic goods with the fairest and most ethical practices. Based in Mumbai they work in nine Indian states and strive for excellence from sourcing to delivering the purest non-GMO products worldwide.

suminterindiaorganics.com

NOBLE ECONTECH

Based in Madhya Pradesh, Noble Ecotech is one of the largest fairtrade organic producers in the world.

Their fundamental purpose is to cultivate a healthy eco system by using natural and traditional agricultural practices that benefit both the farmers and the welfare of the society.

nobleecotech.com

8. WHY DO WE PRODUCE IN INDIA?
India has a long history with cotton crop. It continues to be the world’s largest producer of organic cotton, covering almost 45% of total area under organic cultivation, being grown by over 200 producer groups in eight states.

The first cotton mill in India was established in 1818, so their history with growing, milling and producing cotton dates back a long way.

In India organically produced cotton offers a life choice and alternative to thousands of marginal farmers, for whom cotton is a very valuable cash crop, providing intercropping opportunities leading to food self-sufficiency and a less expensive method of production.

In addition, over the years MG/B have created strong working relationships with our factory partners who’s standard of production is world class.

9. WHY DO WE USE ELASTIC IN OUR UNDERWEAR?
We limit the amount of elastane used in our underwear, however we do use a small percentage (5%) in the garment to ensure the garment holds its shape and has the adequate stretch and product longevity.

And we use an elastane waist band to make sure they stay on your body.

We are continually looking to improve our footprint and we are actively looking for new solutions to our elastane use. If you have any ideas, drop us a line.

10. WHAT CERTIFICATIONS DO WE HAVE?
We carry a number of certifications which act as a protection for our entire supply chain.

Specifically our factories carry the following certifications:

Fairtrade certification

Fairtrade works with farmers who’ve formed small producer organisations, as well as contract production organisations in the process of forming independent cooperatives. Many Fairtrade cotton organisations are in West Africa – namely Mali, Senegal, Cameroon and Burkina Faso. But it's India that grows the most fairtrade certified cotton.

Cotton production is linked to several environmental issues: Extensive usage of agrochemicals and excessive use of water put fresh water supplies for local populations at risk. Unpredictable weather conditions also endanger the livelihoods of small-scale farmers. Fairtrade works with farmers to stop or reduce the usage of agrochemicals and supports them to adapt to changing climate patterns. Fairtrade cotton fields in Western Africa and India are rainfed, reducing the region’s water footprint, when compared with production in other countries.

Requirements in the Fairtrade Standards also protect farmers’ health and safety and ban genetically modified cotton seeds. A large percentage of fairtrade cotton is also organic certified, and Fairtrade encourages and empowers cotton farmers to protect the natural environment as an integral part of their farm management.

GOTS

The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) was developed by leading standard setters to define world-wide recognised requirements for organic textiles. From the harvesting of the raw materials, environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing, to labelling, textiles are certified by GOTS to provide a credible assurance to the consumer.

SA 8000 SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY STANDARD

SA8000 is the leading social certification standard for factories and organisations across the globe. Established by Social Accountability International (SAI) in 1997 as a multi-stakeholder initiative, the Standard has evolved into an overall framework that helps certified organisations demonstrate their dedication to the fair treatment of workers.

11. WHAT ELSE ARE WE DOING TO CREATE A MORE ETHICAL FASHION INDUSTRY?
We are constantly looking at ways to educate, inform and address the serious issues facing the fashion industry.

We are proud to have been awarded ‘Great’ (the highest possible score) by the team that curates the ethics of brands at Good On You. The criteria is based on people, planet and animals to determine their recommendations for a wide selection of brands around the world.

We have been awarded with an A+ rating with the Baptist World Aid report 5 years in a row (2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020).

We are proud to have signed the Modern Slavery Act in Australia in 2018 which seeks to address modern slavery risks in supply chains.

12. CAN YOU RECYCLE UNDERWEAR?
We are currently working with a company in Australia to create a recycling program but currently we don’t have one in place as it’s a very complicated process that takes time, resources and a whole lot of support to get it off the ground. However, you can certainly create a new life for your underwear in multiple ways:

  • Cut the elastic off and use the remainder as rags
  • Take them to a textile recycling centre – contact your local council or recycling centre to enquire whether its available in your area
  • Get crafty, and turn them into a pet toy – there’s plenty of ‘how to’s’ online
  • While not all items can be donated, clean unworn underwear (or worn once and washed thoroughly) can be donated to homeless shelters.
13. WHAT CAN I DO TO BECOME A MORE CONSCIOUS CONSUMER?
As humans, purchasing some things sometimes is inevitable however being conscious about who you are buying from, and whether or not you need the item will hold you in good stead.

Here are some other ways that might be helpful:

  • Only buy from companies and brands that put people, animals and the planet first above profit
  • Practice minimalism, and ask yourself ‘do I really need this?’
  • Buy goods that carry the Fairtrade and GOTS symbols which ensures a fair and just item has been made
  • Buy plastic free and eliminate single use plastic
  • Recycle anything and everything that you can – visit your local council’s website to see what you can recycle in your area
  • Re-use items and purchase second hand
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