Ethics and Sustainability
Sustainability is at the core of what we do and stand for.
Our suppliers observe socially responsible business practices, partnering with social enterprises to empower garment factory workers, using safe and responsible dyeing processes, and working with the Better Cotton Initiative to shape sustainable cotton farming practices.
But what does a sustainable Merch Service actually look like?
We use ethical cotton suppliers
We use AS Color for our blank tees and hoodies. They firmly believe in the principle of “doing the right thing”, and have shaped their business practices around this idea.
Tees come from a factory in Narayanganj, central Bangladesh and hoodies from Ningbo in Eastern China. Both factories have workers’ unions and provide on-site meals for employees. AS Color are radically transparent about their factories; you can have a better look at all of their suppliers on their site.
AS Color have signed up to initiatives aimed at shaping sustainable long-term solutions to cotton production and factory work. That includes the Better Cotton Initiative – working with farmers and other stakeholders to encourage sustainable cotton farming – and the Amfori BSCI, which supports the improvement of factory and farming conditions. They also partner with Reemi, a social enterprise focused on improving the menstrual health and wellbeing of women in the garment industry.
Our tote bags come from Stanley/Stella, who go to huge lengths to ensure the sustainability of their business practices. Using only Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton and recycled polyester, their supply chain is certified by a number of independent bodies, such as PETA and Textile Exchange.
Put simply, we use suppliers that actively support sustainable cotton farming – and don’t just pay lip service to it. You can check out the latest sustainability reports for AS Color and Stanley/Stella.
Our tees contain safe and sustainable dyes
Our merch is OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certified – meaning the fabrics are free from dangerous substances like pesticides and heavy metals.
OEKO-TEX® is the registered trademark for the organisation responsible for ensuring no harmful chemicals are used in textile production – although you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the name for the stuff NASA uses to make space suits.
AS Color and Stanley/Stella use OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certified factories. The articles of clothing they produce are free from numerous harmful chemicals, many of which are synonymous with the dyeing industry.
That means the clothes are safe to handle, both for those who wear them and those who make them.
Items are printed exclusively at UK suppliers.
We pay artists fairly
We build sustainable, respectful relationships with artists. We give back as much as we can to the wonderful creatives that we work with while continuing to operate as a viable business – which usually amounts to 40-50% of the proceeds of a piece of merch (we keep 15-20%). And we’re transparent about this.
Our merch is made to order after campaigns end, but we pay artists weekly. They won’t be left waiting until the end of the month (or longer) to see the proceeds.
We’re always looking to improve
Although we’re proud to call our Merch Service sustainable, we know there are areas where we can get better. We are in the process of developing bespoke, heavyweight t-shirts made from certified organic cotton. We are also looking into ways to upgrade from our current recyclable postage bags to biodegradable ones.
We’ll always back the underground, but never at the expense of the environment. If you’ve got any suggestions on how we can do better – don’t hesitate to get in touch.