Etiko is the Australian pioneer in ethically sourced garments, footwear and sports equipment. Etiko was the first company in Australia to be granted Fairtrade certification for a non-food product and has received widespread recognition for its role in raising the bar for fashion and sports brands.
The Australian Fashion Report has 3 times granted Etiko the highest A+ rating, based on the company’s record of using Fairtrade, organic and other sustainably sourced materials in products manufactured to high ethical standards ensuring no child or sweatshop labour, where workers enjoy good working conditions and receive a living wage.
In Australia, parents spend well over $1 billion per year on school uniforms, but only a very small proportion of this is on Fairtrade (or even ethically sourced) uniforms.
What’s wrong with cotton production and the school uniform manufacturing industry?
- Thousands of cotton workers die annually due to pesticide poisoning
- Cotton is often picked by children who may have been trafficked and denied basic human rights
- School uniform workers are often paid poverty wages, have few rights, have to work forced overtime, and can suffer abusive threats from supervisors
- School uniform suppliers are often unable to tell schools where the cotton in their uniforms comes from
Fairtrade helps farmers and workers improve their own livelihoods and move themselves out of poverty through trade. Every Fairtrade school uniform bought in Australia has a real impact such as providing schools, books, clean drinking water and health care to disadvantaged farmers and workers who often cannot afford to send their own children to school.
How can my school benefit?
Choosing Fairtrade school uniforms also benefits your own school and community:
- Cross-curriculum learning opportunities – pupils understand more about how their clothes are made and the benefits of Fairtrade to the lives of the people who make them. As well as global citizenship, learning can branch off into geography, science, history, commerce, maths and language.
- Involving local community – Making parents aware of a Fairtrade uniform option enables the wider community to contribute to the schools global citizenship policy.
Click here to read about Waterfall Gully Preschool’s transition to adopting a fairtrade uniform.
What Fairtrade uniform products are available?
Polos, t-shirts, long-sleeved tops, hoodies, hats.
Do Fairtrade school uniforms cost more?
Not necessarily. Depending on quantities ordered, Fairtrade uniforms can cost less than garments from established Australian suppliers (who often also source overseas), and this still ensures a living wage for the workers in the garment factory.
How does Fairtrade compare with other certification schemes?
There are many different schemes that seek to address ethical sourcing in the fashion industry, and understanding the differences can be confusing. The combination of Fairtrade (FLO) and organic (GOTS) certifications offers the most robust third-party accreditation available for the cotton, whilst Fair Trade USA certification provides strong protection for workers in production. The following table compares different accreditation schemes for garment production. Fair Labor Association and WRAP certifications (commonly touted by garment manufacturers) do not provide any assurance that workers receive a living wage.
Source: Fair Trade USA report: A Bold Experiment in Ethical Clothing (https://www.fairtradeusa.org/sites/default/files/Apparel%20Pilot%20Report.pdf)
How can we find out more?
Follow the links below, and for more details on Etiko products contact Clive Marriott: email@example.com
Also check out ‘The True Cost‘, a documentary that explores the horrific impacts of fashion on people and the planet. (Currently showing on Netflix) .
Etiko are offering a 10% discount off your first school uniform order. Use code ‘CERES16’ to claim your discount.
The True Cost – documentary: http://truecostmovie.com/
Australia Fashion Report: http://www.baptistworldaid.org.au/assets/Be-Fair-Section/FashionReport.pdf
Ethical Consumer School Uniforms report: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/clothing/schooluniforms.aspx
Ethical Consumer accreditation schemes compared: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/researchhub/ethicalaccreditation.aspx
United Students Against Sweatshops resources: http://usas.org/organize/resources/
Fairtrade School uniforms: http://fairtradewales.com/fair-trade-nation/schools/schooluniforms
Journey to Fairtrade school uniform: http://www.scottishfairtradeforum.org.uk/take-action/schools-and-nurseries/fair-trade-schools/fairtrade-cotton-schoolwear-campaign/case-studies/%EF%BB%BF%EF%BB%BFa-journey-to-fairtrade-school-uniform/#.V6z54ph96Uk
Number of students in full-time education in Australia: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4221.0
Cost of school uniforms in Victoria: http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/etc/Dress_Code_Report/ch6.pdf