Advantages of our 100% organic t-shirts (PETA Approved Vegan)

Since September 2017, we are offering Econscious t-shirts made exclusively of organic cotton, bringing you eco-friendly products manufactured with the highest possible environmental and vegan standards, in combination with our 100% organic and vegan print inks. Our organic cotton is also GMO free and certified by USDA and GOTS. Moreover, the t-shirts are certified vegan by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

 

Why Organic ? Here are the environmental benefits of organic cotton

Source: In 2014, Textile Exchange commissioned a Life Cycle Assessment on organic cotton and found significant, measurable environmental benefits compared to conventional.

 

Organic and vegan certifications

Our organic t-shirts are certified 100% organic and approved by the USDA under strict production and labeling requirements, including annual inspections by the certifier. The cotton is also certified by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Control Union (SKAL). Cotton clothing is only organic if it is certified to an organic cotton standard – we guarantee no greenwashing!

Shop without being complicit of animal cruelty – Our organic t-shirts does not use any animal derived fibers and are not tested on animals. Econscious, the manufacturer of our organic products, has partnered with PETA Approved Vegan to get certified 100% vegan and approved by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

 

Our eco-friendly printing inks are also certified vegan and organic.

 

Cotton facts – how non-organic cotton is destroying our planet

  • 20,000 liters of water is needed to produce a single t-shirt, according to WWF. 73% of global cotton harvest comes from irrigated land.
  • Cotton covers only 2.4% of the world’s cultivated land but uses 24% of the world’s insecticide and 16% of pesticides.  Cotton is considered the world’s most polluting crop due to its heavy use of pesticides, according to Rodale Institute and WWF.
  • Cotton agriculture is the second dirtiest industry in the world, second only the oil industry, according to Ecowatch.
  • 77 million cotton workers suffer poisonings from pesticides each year. Growing cotton is a toxic business; it uses a lot of pesticides – putting in peril the lives of women, men and children in cotton farming communities. According to the World Health Organization up to 20,000 deaths each year are caused by pesticide poisoning in developing countries. In the US alone, more than 10,000 farmers die each year from cancers related to such chemicals. Eight of the top 10 pesticides most commonly used on U.S. conventionally produced cotton were classified as moderately to highly hazardous by the World Health Organization.
  • Cotton’s pesticides are killing bees. On top of polluting our water and soil, the chemical products used in cotton crops include Neonicotinoids, which were linked to bees deaths. The insecticides used on cotton also include dangerous chemicals called Organophosphates, which were originally introduced by Nazi Germany as nerve poisons during World War II, before it was transformed into a pesticide. Studies find that both Neonicotinoids and Organophosphates contributes to killing bees, which is a fact now also recognized by the EPA.
  • Birds decline – Pesticides used in cotton crops, like Neonicotinoids, are also killing at least 67 million of birds every year and are linked to birds decline, according to studies. It is estimated that of the roughly 10% of the birds exposed annually to pesticides on U.S. agricultural lands are killed. This staggering number is a conservative estimate that takes into account only birds that inhabit farmlands, and only birds killed outright by ingestion of pesticides. The full extent of bird fatalities due to pesticides is extremely difficult to determine because most deaths go undetected.
  • 90% of the world’s cotton is genetically modified. More than 270,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide since the introduction of Monsanto’s GMO cotton in just 11 years in India. Monsanto has pushed up prices of seeds by more than 8,000%, pushing the farmers to debt and financial ruin.

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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.

Continue reading “We boycott cotton from Uzbekistan’s forced labor”

Discounted t-shirts for non-profit organizations (at production cost)

For around 10 years, we have been providing merchandise at the production cost to a significant number of activist organizations around the world to help fund their activities. We believe in activist solidarity and sharing of the means of production, so our principle is to help our comrades without making any profit.

 

We print, you sell

  • Items at production cost with free shipping anywhere in the world
  • Offer intended for non-profit organizations, associations, unions or other activist groups
  • Minimum order of 25 items
  • Up to 35% off with printing on demand (any items in our inventory)
  • Up to 60% off screen-printing wholesale (minimum 30x the same design)
  • Possibility to print the logo of your association
  • We offer you the services of our graphic designers for free

 

Procedure:

  1. Contact us first to confirm your eligibility for the campaign by providing some information about your project and the group you represent
  2. After we confirm your eligibility, you can place the order on our website using the promotion code provided in the e-mail instructions. This will give you an initial 15% off on your order.
  3. After checkout, forward us a copy of the invoice and then you will receive the rest of the discount through a PayPal transaction (please allow 3-5 business days).

Note: Please follow the e-mail instructions carefully. You MUST enter the promotion code to apply the first 15% discount. This is the only way for us to provide this discount due to payment processing limitations.

 

Sell your t-shirts on our website

Do you prefer to launch a fundraising campaign by selling t-shirts without having to manage the sales, the inventory, the website and all the technical aspects involved? Submit your project and if accepted by our team, we could sell your t-shirts in our shop.

No financial implication needed on your side! Printing on demand avoids the financial investment normally required to produce t-shirts and the risk of not selling them all. Plus, your t-shirts take advantage of the visibility of a well-established cooperative store.

Our system allows you to track sales and statistics by logging into the site via our simple interface. This allows you to see at any time all of the revenue generated by your sales. The profits are then paid to you at the chosen frequency.

With this partnership, we can provide t-shirts at production cost, even in small quantities. Ideal for smaller campaigns.

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Offered services :

  • Graphic design optimization and preparation for sale
  • Managing international sales and payments
  • Printing and shipping of items (dropshipping)
  • Customer service team 7 days a week
  • After sales service and returns management
  • Computerized accounting – you are able to track your monthly sales statistics
  • Free promotion service

 

Note: we receive a large number of offers and unfortunately we can not accept all designs submitted to us.

Why are we using print-on-demand?

Every product you order here is an individual item, printed on demand and manufactured by hand for you. That’s what distinguishes us from other e-commerce retailers. Here are the reasons why we use this production mode.

 

Against the commercial approach

Our activist cooperative is not a supermarket devoted to the over-consumption of t-shirts. Although we offer many different products, we do not hold any inventory and we don’t have a storefront. We could view it as we’re offering a service rather than selling something – you choose your design and clothing type, then we print it for you.

By printing on-demand according to orders, we can offer virtually unlimited designs choices because the printing process takes place only after a purchase. This production model makes it possible to offer a wide variety of designs covering a larger range of social themes that represent all struggles and social causes, even the lesser known. That’s why we have such a large products range, colors options and sizes, without risking over-production or waste.

Unlike us, conventional clothing shops usually use classic screen-printing as printing method. This method requires large investments to print batchs of hundreds of t-shirts, which would greatly limits the quantity of designs available for sale and their colors options. Batch screen-printing, with its minimum quantity constraints, usually puts shops in a position where they’re forced to focus only on the best-selling designs to lower the investment’s risk – and that’s exactly this mainstream capitalist logic that we want to avoid reproducing. We prefer variety rather than popularity dictated by market trends.

 

A question of budget and logistic

As a small cooperative who started with a very small budget, the economic factor was the main reason that guided our choice, since on-demand printing requires no major investment and minimizes the costs associated with our operations. More importantly, it guarantees our autonomy so that we don’t have to take huge loans from the banks and pay interests with our customer’s money.

The primary purpose why this shop was started was to raise funds for donations to activist causes. If we had chosen to multiply investments and take loans, we would spend more time repaying our debts rather than raising money to make donations – which would mean turning the shop into a capitalist business just like any other.

We currently offer a selection of over 3000 different designs available on 10 types of clothing and about 10 colors options. The average cost per unit with batch screen-printing would be around $5.00 for 100 t-shirts.
Imagine the incredible investment it would represent: 3000*10*10*$5*100 = $150,000,000. It means we would have to invest an incredible amount of 150 million of dollars to maintain our current inventory with screen-printing. This estimate doesn’t accounts higher priced products (like hoodies) and the costs related to inventory storage.

Holding no inventory makes it possible to constantly change our catalog by adding new designs and removing those that never gets sold after a while. On the other hand, screen-printing would force us to keep only the best selling t-shirts since we would have to invest a lot of money to print them in large batches.

 

The shipping factor

Another factor that significantly influenced our decision to opt for on-demand printing is our partnership with a printing company located in USA. The postal services in the United States have much lower pricing for international shipping compared to other countries. It would cost more than double of the current fees to ship the t-shirts from Canada or FranceSo even if we’re losing money due to the higher production costs, it allows us to offer lower shipping prices. 

 

The disadvantage of higher production cost

For us, this choice also has some disadvantages, mainly its higher than average production cost. Since each shirt is individually printed, we pay a production cost on a per-unit basis, unlike screen-printing which provides discounted wholesale price. In other words, this means that our production cost is always the same whether we product 1 or 100 t-shirts. Smaller margins makes it very challenging for us to offer competitive wholesale pricing and quantity discounts.

 

Towards autonomy and self-sufficiency – our projects for the future

Not having the financial means to buy our own machines, we went for a partnership with an american printing company. In the long term, we hope to be able of self-sustaining our production means by buying our own printing machines (DTG on-demand digital printer and Flex printer) and other equipements.

But this represents an investment of several thousands dollars and serious logistic challenges. However, we are always pushing things further and we are confident that the cooperative will continue to evolve in a positive way while showing it’s possible to do things differently.