CLIMATE AND ETHICS

JULY 2021 UPDATE (last edited/updated in September 2021)

 

The ethos of Goodstrangevibes does not stop at the artwork, it is central to who I work with as well. I aim to ensure that Goodstrangevibes products are of the highest standards in terms of labour rights and environmental sustainability. As part of this mission, Goodstrangevibes had the privilege of hiring Jemima Elliott for a month-long internship to investigate t-shirt suppliers/printers in terms of labour rights and environmental sustainability. This has led Goodstrangevibes to start the process of switching suppliers from Streetshirts to Stanley/Stella and launching our resale service. During the internship, Jemima also created a Catalogue of Sustainability and Ethics Certifications. We wanted to share this resource so other businesses and individuals can use it to evaluate and improve their business practices too.

Top Printers:

  • The designs will be printed on t-shirts by I Dress Myself, who use Direct to Garment printing with water-based inks. 

  • I Dress Myself source their t-shirts from a variety of sellers, but we choose their t-shirts from Stanley/Stella with whom Goodstrangevibes has had extensive communications both over the phone and via email to discuss their ethics and plans for the future. 

  • Stanley/Stella are certified by Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Global Recycle Standard (GRS), Oeko-Tex 100, Organic Content Standard (OCS), and PETA, and are members of FairWear Foundation. They are also rated 4/5 ‘Good’ on Good on You.

  • Stanley/Stella t-shirts are produced using organic cotton. This cotton is sourced from the Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Odissa regions of India, and once information about the Uighur genocide emerged, Stanley/Stella conducted a complete review of their supply chain to ensure their suppliers were not linked. 

  • For more detailed information on the Stanley/Stella supply chain, including information about individual factories in Bangladesh, Portugal, and China, see their 2020 Sustainability Report. It was the transparency of Stanley/Stella that made them so appealing to Goodstrangevibes, as we hope that any potential issues will be easily picked up and resolved as a result. 

 

New Resale Service!

  • Now you can resell your pre-loved Goodstrangevibes tops. To start the process all you have to do is send over pictures of the item as well as it’s condition (in line with the condition rating scale). If the item sells, you will post the product to the new buyer and will receive store credit in return! For more information on logistics, see the Resale Service page.

  • Why this scheme exists:

    • According to the Fixing Fashion report, we buy more clothes per person in the UK than anywhere else in Europe. We also discard around a million tonnes of textiles a year. This is not good for the planet, for our mental health, or for the people who are making these clothes that are destined to go to landfill. To try to prevent at least some clothes from going to waste, we’re hoping that this scheme will help bring Goodstrangevibes garments into a circular economy.

  • Depending on the scheme's popularity and Goodstrangevibes’ growth, the resale service could develop further. Have any thoughts or features you’d like to see in the future? Just get in touch!

 

Upcycled Tops: 

  • Supported Charities: The tops were bought from Newcastle charity shops. As a result, money went to several charities, including the British Red Cross, Cancer Research, and Shaw Trust.

  • Local: supported a small local screen printing business: Incubate Experimental Printmaking

  • Eco-Friendly: up-cycled tops. Water-based Soil Accredited inks. Avoided harmful emissions from transportation as local.

Postcards:

  • The postcards are produced by Printed.com

  • 95% of Printed.com’s waste is used for their recycled products and the final 5% is converted into Refuse Derived Fuel.

  • Printed.com reuse ink cartridges and invest in print technology to ​​​​​​​save paper.

  • The supplier is certified by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and ISO14001. This ensures high standards of environmental wellness.

  • Future Improvements: once all current stock is sold, any further orders will be on recycled paper.

Recycled Notebooks & Zines:

  • Printed by Awesome Merchandise

  • All the notebooks have 300gsm white recycled board covers. 

  • All the zines sold on my website have 300gsm white recycled covers and 115gsm white recycled paper insides.

 

Poster Printers: [in the process of moving to Print.Work]

  • The posters are produced by Photobox

  • Photobox are gender equality advocates: active steps to address the gender pay gap and inequality by: improving their recruitment process, supporting working parents, supporting leaders to create inclusive environments and changing the culture through events and conversations.

  • I am interested in finding an alternative poster supplier, especially one that prints on recycled paper. Do you know any good poster printers who uphold labour rights and environmental sustainability? Please share your recommendations to us via email!

 

Stickers:

Sold on my website and at market stalls:

  • I individually print each sticker myself using a Poooli printer. I create new packs based on my stock at that time so nothing goes to waste. This is environmentally friendly as the stickers do not use any ink. They are also BPA free.

  • Some of the stickers don’t turn out as planned. They are just as gorgeous but with a little quirk that makes them unique such as faded lines or squished graphics. I call these off-prints and send them to customers for free with sticker orders so they still get the chance to be used. The off-cuts from the edges of the stickers I use as small pieces of sellotape. 

  • The stickers are packaged using biofilm bags which are 'fully biodegradable and compostable which means that they break down to CO2, H2O and biomass. This can then be reused in the ecosystem to make new plants. This will happen in either in home or commercial composting but in commercial composting the temperature will be higher and the process is much quicker. In a colder home composter it will just take longer.' Postage envelopes made from 80% recycled content and 20% organic compounds, making them completely recyclable, compostable and biodegradable.

For bulk orders/retailers:

  • For larger orders and special requests, I use Print.Work - a small UK business.

  • Sustainability / environmentally responsible:

    • ‘100% recycled face material and water based, recycling compatible acrylic with no volatile organic compounds. When applied, our stickers are 100% recyclable or biodegradable’. ‘The backing for the sticker sheets is made from a siliconised kraft. It is worth noting that whilst possible, the silicone backing is a little tricky to recycle at household recycling sites. Silicone is inert and free of toxins so would be better off composted’.

    • In terms of sustainability certifications, the majority of the stocks are FSC certified, and are made from a range of recycled and sustainably sourced materials.

    • Carbon neutral delivery.

  • Treatment of employees:

    • Certified living wage employer, and support staff with any further training opportunities that they may wish to pursue. 

    • Do not discriminate based on gender and employees are paid equally for roles. 

    • All employees are provided with sick pay, maternity/paternity leave in accordance with UK law.

    • P.W offers a profit share scheme to all employees once they've passed their probationary period.

    • Staff are allocated their own monthly print credits, which is of great benefit to those in the team who are artists.

  • During the pandemic:

    • Ensured that all staff who can work remotely have done so, and have provided any equipment they should need to be able to do so.

    • Those who cannot work from home (such as the production team) have maintained social distancing pracities while on site, as well as being encouraged to take full advantage of the lateral flow tests offered on site.

 

Reused Packaging: 

  • I always save old packaging, envelopes and scraps of paper to create recycled product packaging. I recently found some scrap material which I have been cutting into strips to make ribbons used to tie parcels together. Not only do I feel strongly about reusing materials, but I also love the unique look of recycled packaging.

  • Occasionally, I use plastic postage bags which I bought at the start of trading (when I wrongly did not always have environmental concerns in mind). Once these bags run out, I will not be re-ordering plastic packaging. If you receive anything with plastic packaging (from us or from elsewhere), please do your best to reuse it for as long as you are able - they could be used again as postage packaging so they are kept in circulation.

Business Cards:

  • To minimise paper usage, I use QR codes that people can scan, instead of physical business cards.

 

Fundraising For Charities / Organisations:

  • August & September 2021: with every pre-ordered zine, I will send a free zine to organisations & charities that support LGBTQ+ people and/or provide sexual health services.

  • April 2021 - present: 20% of profits from sticker sales go to the following charities:

    • BEAT, the UK’s eating disorder charity (from the Body Positive Pack)

    • Black Minds Matter UK, a non-profit which connects Black individuals and families with free mental health services (from the Mental Health Pack)

    • Surfers Against Sewage, an environmental charity dedicated to the protection of oceans, waves, beaches and wildlife (from the Surfers Pack).

  • June 2020 - February 2021: 50% of profit from postcards went to The Angelou Centre.

  • November 2020: curated my first solo 3D online exhibition about my gender identity which raised £200 for akt.

 

Pro Bono Work:

 

Discounted Services:​

Want to learn more about slow and ethical fashion? Check out these resources below!

AUGUST 2020 UPDATE:

The ethos of goodstrangevibes does not stop at the artwork, it is central to who I work with as well.

Top Printers:

  • Eco-Friendly: carbon-neutral company that reduces, recycles and reuses all that they can, and offsets those emissions that they can't.

  • Ethical: Pay all their staff and contractors in excess of the Living Wage and they are an accredited Living Wage Employer.

 

Upcycled Tops:

  • Supported Charities: The top were bought from Newcastle charity shops. As a result, money was given to the British Red Cross, Cancer Research, Shaw Trust, PDSA and Salvation Army.

  • Local: supported a small local screen printing business.

  • Eco-Friendly: up-cycled tops. Water-based Soil Accredited inks. Avoided harmful emissions from transportation as local.

Postcard Printers:

  • Recycle: 95% of their waste is used for their recycled products and the final 5% is converted into Refuse Derived Fuel.

  • Reuse: Reuse ink cartridges and invest in print technology to ​​​​​​​save paper.

  • ISO14001 certification: ensures high standards of environmental wellness.

  • Future Improvements: once I have sold all current stock, any further orders will be on recycled paper.

Recycled Notebooks:

  • All my notebooks are using 300gsm white recycled board. 


Poster Printers:

  • The current poster printers I use are gender equality advocates: active steps to address the gender pay gap and inequality by: improving their recruitment process, supporting working parents, supporting leaders to create inclusive environments and changing the culture through events and conversations.

  •  I have researched and found a poster printing company which uses 100% Recycled Uncoated paper. My plan is for future purchases to be with them once I have bought and learnt to use the software necessary in order to print with them.

 

Reused Packaging:

  • I always save old packaging, envelopes and scraps of paper to create recycled packaging for my products. I recently found some scrap material which I have been cutting into strips to form ribbon to tie parcels together. Not only do I feel strongly about reusing materials, but I also love the unique look of recycled packaging.

  • Occasionally, I use plastic postage bags which I bought at the start of trading (when I wrongly did not always have environmental concerns in mind). Once these bags run out, I will not be re-ordering plastic packaging.

Business Cards:

  • To minimise my paper usage, I use QR codes that people can scan, instead of physical business cards.

 

SEPTEMBER 2019 UPDATE:

STATEMENT

 

I have always been concerned by climate change and this has certainly influenced my decisions in relation to how I live my daily life and the running of my business. 

 

However, with the activist work of my past housemate @greenmeantashmachine, I have been inspired to position the importance of minimising my effect on the climate as a priority.

 

The company I have always used to print tops is carbon-neutral (they reduce, recycle or reuse all they can, and offset those emissions they can’t), their printing process is 100% non-toxic, produces no harmful waste, are vegan-friendly (their inks contain no animal by-products), and importantly they pay their staff and contractors in excess of the living wage.

 

But, when I first started goodstrangevibes as a business, I didn’t always have the environment as a priority. I would like to change this, and I pledge to do so. 

 

MY PLAN MOVING FORWARDS

 

Postage and Packaging

At the start of trading, I ordered plastic postage bags, I will use these up (as not using them would be counter-productive) but once they have run out I will switch to a more sustainable option, such as cardboard packaging.

 

Recycled Paper

I have found a way to order postcards made from recycled paper, so once I have sold all current stock, any further orders will be on recycled paper.

I will order business cards on recycled paper. I have researched and found a poster printing company which uses 100% Recycled Uncoated paper, and my plan is for future purchases to be with them once I have bought and learnt to use the software necessary in order to print with them. 

Tops

I am going to experiment with buying tops from charity shops and hand drawing onto these to further reduce my businesses' impact on the environment. Additionally, I would like to reduce the prices of these so they are more affordable, especially for customers who may be unable financially to purchase the current range of tops, while also creating a money-saving incentive to customers to purchase environmentally friendly clothing. 

I would like to thank the Alumni Association Student Initiative Fund at Newcastle University, who awarded me with a grant to develop goodstrangevibes, and this has enabled me to invest more into recycled goods.

 © 2021 by Lou Brown

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