We boycott cotton from Uzbekistan’s forced labor

Our t-shirts are made of cotton ethically produced in the United States. The cotton used by our manufacturers is grown in the United States, including even for our standard t-shirts and imported products. US cotton farmers are required to adhere to strict US labor laws and regulations. These regulations are most likely some of the most stringent in the cotton growing industry globally. They provide workers with ethical workplaces and because cotton is regulated as a food crop, workplace health and safety conditions mirror those of the vast majority of the foods we find on our tables.

Click here to learn more about our US cotton.

 

Slavery-like practices are used in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields

Every year since 1989, the Government of Uzbekistan, one of the world’s largest exporters of cotton, forces over 1 million of Uzbek citizens to leave their regular jobs and go to the fields to pick cotton for weeks in arduous and hazardous conditions. Many people have died almost every year in fields from extreme heat and accidents, including children who are also forced to work. According to several human rights organizations, slavery-like practices are used in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields.

Human rights organizations, such as the IHFHuman Rights WatchAmnesty International and others, define Uzbekistan as “an authoritarian state with limited civil rights” and express profound concern about “wide-scale violation of virtually all basic human rights”.

According to the human rights violations reports, the most widespread violations are torture, arbitrary arrests, and various restrictions of freedoms: of religion, of speech and press, of free association and assembly. It has also been reported that forced sterilization of rural Uzbek women has been practiced by the government. The reports maintain that the violations are most often committed against independent journalists, members of religious organizations, human rights activists and political activists, including members of the banned opposition parties.

Human rights campaigners have been threatened, beaten and detained while attempting to monitor conditions during the harvest. There is currently thousands of political prisoners in Uzbekistan and Human Rights Watch reported that Uzbek prison authorities routinely beat prisoners and use electric shocks, asphyxiation and sexual humiliation to extract information and confessions. Muslim prisoners have even been tortured for praying. According to a forensic report commissioned by the British embassy, some prisoners were boiled to death.

Uzbekistan also maintains the world’s second-highest rate of modern slavery, around 4% of the country’s population working as modern slaves. The only country with an higher slavery rate is North Korea. Recent reports on violations on human rights in Uzbekistan indicate that violations are still going on without any improvement.

The 2005 civil unrest in Uzbekistan, which resulted in over 1500 people being killed by the military. These events are viewed by many as a landmark event in the history of human rights abuse in Uzbekistan. A concern has been expressed and a request for an independent investigation of the events has been made by the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, the OSCE and other human rights NGOs.

Forced labor repeats every year during harvest. Provincial government offices order schoolteachers to close schools and enforce quotas in the cotton fields. The local authorities send government and private business employees in order to meet cotton production quotas. The Uzbek government combines these orders with threats, detains and tortures Uzbek activists seeking to monitor the situation, and refuses to address the problem of forced labor.

The forced labor system orchestrated by the government of Uzbekistan violates human rights, holds Uzbek citizens as modern slaves, and condemns future generations to a cycle of poverty. Only the high officials of the corrupt regime in place for more than 30 years, profits from the forced labor and the massive exports of cotton. We join Uzbek citizens in supporting the Call to Boycott Uzbek Textile organized by the victims of governmental persecution.

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Ethical Guidelines – Manufacturer’s Code of Conduct and working conditions

We take ethics seriously, bringing you sweatshop-free products without any child labor. All of our t-shirts use fair trade cotton made in the USA, including our regular t-shirts. The manufacturer’s working conditions are closely monitored through a transparent Code of Conduct and regular independent audits. This article gives details about our fair labor certifications, the manufacturer’s ethical guidelines and code of conduct, as well as the country of origin of the products and the cotton raw material.

Fair labor certifications

All of our products (including imported apparel) are approved by independent fair labor certifications and ethical seals such as :

The clothing is also environment-friendly approved by Oeko-Tex Certification Class 100

      

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Eco-responsibility, environment-friendly practices and use of non-chemical inks

We use only natural inks, free from any chemicals.

Most printers use plastisol ink consisting of chemicals derived from petroleum. Although being more simple to use, plastisol inks contain PVC and phthalates, two dangerous chemicals very damaging to the environment and have been linked to numerous medical disorders. The plastisol inks also require the use of harmful solvents in the printing process and various ozone-depleting chemicals that contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Our inks do not contain PVC or phthalates and don’t need solvents to clean the screens down after they’ve been used. Only water is used throughout the process – from printing to cleaning.

Our inks do not contain any chemicals known to contribute to the greenhouse effect and ozone depletion, unlike many products commonly used in other types of inks such as chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), aromatic hydrocarbons or other volatile solventsThey don’t contain lead or any heavy metals. In fact, Permaset Aqua inks do not contain any toxic chemicals at all ! Not even mineral turpentine like other water based inks on the market.

Sources: [1] – [2]

 

Eco-friendly certifications

Our ink is approved by the highest industry standards for environmentally certified and health safety.

 

Validated by Oeko-Tex Class 1, the highest standard for green certification

Certified by the Global Organic Textile (GOTS-3V) for its 100% organic content without chemicals

Meets the standards of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC)

Approved by the Residues Standard List (RSL)

Certified risk-free for health, even for babies under 3 years

 100% vegan. Not tested on animals. Contains no animal products or animal by-products.

 Vegetable extracts are certified GMO free.

certifications

Sources: [1][2] – [3]

 

Powered by Green Energy

Worried to minimize its impact on the environment by any means possible, we use only 100% green energy powered web servers.

Furthermore, In addition, all the clothing we use is manufactured in factories that consume significant amounts of green electricity via renewable energy sources. The manufacturers are also committed to reducing energy consumption with transparent goals and targets.

Sources: [1][2] – [3] – [4]

 

Eco-responsible manufacturing of t-shirts

We offer locally produced t-shirts like American Apparel which use up to 80% organic cotton. The whole chain of production is located in the same place, thus minimizing the carbon footprint. All waste is recycled by the factory and the manufacturing plant is powered by solar energy.

Even for our regular t-shirts, we made sure that the manufacturers we use have strong eco-friendly policies in place in order to reduce the environmental impact and preserve the natural resources used in the manufacturing processes.

 

Manufacturers commitments to environmental sustainability:

 

ENERGY – Improving energy efficiency and reducing manufacturer’s reliance on fossil fuels by finding alternate sustainable energy sources and production processes.

 

WATER – Optimizing manufacturer’s water use throughout environmental processes such as minimizing water use and enhancing the quality of wastewater management.

 

CO2 EMISSIONS – Reducing manufacturer’s greenhouse gas emissions through energy conservation efforts and finding alternate sustainable energy sources.

 

WASTE REDUCTION – Reducing waste through recycling and the establishment of waste prevention measures at all stages of the production cycle.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE – The manufacturers comply with all applicable environmental protection laws and implemented a number of audits, evaluation and verification methods to ensure that they are compliant with all applicable environmental laws and regulations, as well as the internal Environmental Policy.

 

OEKO-TEX CERTIFICATION – The manufacturers are certified by OEKO-TEX, the most internationally recognized seal, ensuring that the fabric is eco-friendly and that the company complies with substances harmful to the environment.

 

Our supplier insists that all business partners obtain the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification. This unique certification provides the textile and clothing industry with a globally uniform standard for the objective assessment of the presence of harmful substances. Raw materials, intermediate and end products at all stages of processing throughout the manufacturing chain, including accessories, are tested and certified. The laboratory tests currently comprise around 100 human, ecological and performance-related test parameters based on international test standards and other recognized testing procedures.

Sources: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7] – [8]

 

About our organic cotton products:

Our organic t-shirts are all made with organic cotton certified under the USDA National Organic Program. Some of the environmental benefits of organic cotton include:

Reduction in the amount of chemicals entering the air, ground and water;

The use of farming methods such as crop rotation as a natural way to preserve the soil, avoid pests and cover crops to fertilize the soil;

The use of insects and other organisms to control pest populations. In addition, the weeding is managed mechanically or by hand rather than using chemical means;

Avoidance of the use of genetically modified seeds.

 

Sources: [1][2]