Image: Pants to Poverty
"Around one in eight people in the world suffer from chronic hunger, 98% of whom live in developing countries. These countries are also home to 99% of the world’s cotton farmers - indicating a clear need for methods of cotton production that better promote food security."
"Contrary to common belief, organic cotton production is economically competitive with its conventional counterpart. A long term study in India recently revealed that, despite lower average yields, net
profits of organic cotton systems are in fact similar, or sometimes better, than those of conventional systems due to the significantly reduced input costs."
Read more at Soil Association Cotton Report
"Cotton faces significant sustainability risks and challenges, not least its reliance on water and the impact of climate change. For every t-shirt made, around 2,700 litres of water is used across the supply chain from farm to fashion, inclusive of water consumed end to end from agricultural processes to Textile processing to convert fibre to final finished product – the same amount of water the average person drinks in three years; it is certainly a thirsty crop."
Read more at Cotton Connect
"The draining of the Aral Sea in Central Asia stands as one of the most damning examples of unsustainable cotton production. The Aral Sea was once the fourth largest inland sea in the world, stretching across an area of 66,000km2. In less than a generation, it has shrunk to 10 percent of its former volume."
Read more at Environmental Justice Foundation
"Remember, remember, the fifth of November."
"Penny for the guy"
Ah, happy childhood days stuffing old clothes of our dad's with newspaper and straw and touting the resulting 'guy' around the village. And then watching him be thrown on the bonfire lit in the field behind the house.
When you think about it it's really very odd to get children to make effigies of a human being and then watch it being burned. Why aren't we all scarred for life?
Instead we remember baked potatoes and tomato soup drunk out of mugs. Toasting one half of our body in front of the massive bonfire while the other half froze. Sausages on sticks. Fireworks and sparklers.
We're not sure where this image came from, we found it floating around Pinterest, so if it's yours do let us know so we can credit accordingly.
Wasn't he a splendid looking chap. Check out the 'tache. Modern day hipsters have nothing on him.
Owned a greengrocer's in Dulwich. Married the dairyman's daughter.
If you've never tried Spiezia before then you're in for a treat. Based in beautiful Cornwall their balms and oils are made from pure oils infused with herbs and flowers. (Sounds easy, but we bet if we tried they wouldn't turn out as good as this.) Oils cleanse as well as moisturise.
All may sound a bit girly (and we bet if you bought some for the women in your life they'd be pretty happy) but great for men too. Trust us, your skin will thank you.
Spiezia are offering 20% off to Arthur & Henry readers till mid November with code Arthur14
Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin...
Once upon a time all crops were organic*. Then came along the magic bullets of pesticides and insecticides and crops grew big and strong and plentiful. Until they didn't. Until people started realising that the soil was degrading. That chemicals were entering the water streams. And so forth. Read Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.
So for those who wanted still to grow organically and to show that they were growing organically standards and certifications came about. And these were good. And many of the organisations came together to form the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements. Or IFOAM for short.
And hence we have standards and certification for organic cotton farming.
But lo, there came along people who said
'but the processing of cotton usually uses chemicals and other synthetic things. And many of these are really not that great for the environment. Or indeed the people who have to work with them. Surely we don't want them on our lovely organic cotton'.
So different organisations started creating different standards for the ginning and the spinning and the dyeing and the weaving and the knitting and the cutting and the sewing of cotton.
And soon there were a plethora of standards. And the customers began to throw their hands up in despair and say 'this is confusing, you are all doing more or less the same thing, and wanting the same aims, why are you all doing it separately?'
So there was a coming together** of the Soil Association from the UK, OTA from the USA, IVN from Germany and JOCA from Japan, and so the Global Organic Textile Standard, or GOTS for short was created.
GOTS has organic standards for every processor in the textile chain. So the mills, and dye houses and so forth are all certified, by accredited independent certifiers, that they meet those standards. And it has a chain of custody so the organic cotton can be tracked all the way along from the first person to buy it from the organic certified farm.
[Phew, are you still with us. There's just a little bit more.]
Because there are Rules. Not just for those growing and spinning and dyeing and cutting and sewing. But also for us who are designing and selling.
As Arthur & Henry sells direct to you, our customers, from our website, we can use the GOTS logo and don't have to be certified ourselves as a brand or retailer. So you won't find Arthur & Henry on the GOTS database. You will find our factory, which has license number CU 822346, certified by Control Union Certifications.
The GOTS rules mean we can also wholesale a small quantity of shirts to other people. But if we decide to wholesale in a bigger way then we will need to be certified and we will be able to use the Soil Association logo (as we're in the UK).
So that's the story of GOTS.
*Yes, yes, we remember our science classes too and know that technically all growing things are organic. Compared with inorganic things. But you know what we mean.
**we're writing this the day of the referendum on Scottish independence so we may even say they formed a Union
*** See what we mean about a Union
A Dylan Moran Joke:
"You know it's a sad day when your child looks at you and asks 'Daddy, are these organic?'"
"Organic? I grew up on Angel Delight. We didn't have anything in the house if it wasn't neon!"
Start with a joke, that's what they always say.
We do organic quite a lot at Arthur & Henry. We get it, we live it, we agree with it. When you're farming stuff, try not to mess the ecosystem about, hurt animals, or indeed hurt people (ie the farmers).
To be honest though it's not exactly exciting is it? It's just there like eating your five a day, exercising three times a week, paying taxes and insuring your car.
It's the right thing to do.
So do it.
"September 13th is Social Saturday, a day to celebrate and buy from social enterprises - businesses that put people and planet first.
Every purchase we make has an impact on the world we live in. Social enterprises trade to tackle some of the greatest challenges we face, like unemployment and food waste.
Support them* on Social Saturday."
*Ahem, that would be us then.
There comes a time when even the manliest of manly men needs a little bit of TLC.
Whether it's a balm to soothe razor sore skin
a purifying wash
or just good old soap
The mother and daughter team (and we do like a family business) behind Odylique by Essential-Care have been making award winning organic skincare for 30 years. In the glorious county of Suffolk*. As they say "organic products don't mean compromising on performance as long as they are formulated well".
Good for people. Good for the plant. Good for you. Rather like your Arthur & Henry organic cotton shirt.
To celebrate Organic September they are offering Arthur & Henry customers and readers a whopping 20% off any of their products with code ORGBE14. Suitable for men, women and children.
*We're such big fans of Suffolk that Mark just moved there.
OK, so the Soil Association calls this week, part of the Organic September celebrations, organic beauty week. But we're men, and surely men do grooming not beauty.
Mind you, as Arthur was born in the 1860s and Henry in the 1910s they probably did carbolic soap, a tin bath once a week in front of the fire and a rough towel.
But in the 21st century, metrosexual or not, a spot of a shampoo and a dab of moisturiser does come in handy every once in a while. Not to mention shower gel, soap and deodorant. Scent free. Hurrah. (We never were convinced by the [insert brand with big ad budget here] effect.)
So how lucky that there are some great organic brands meaning you can look good without destroying the planet.
A driving force behind getting actual standards for organic beauty products, Green People have brilliant products, high in organic ingredients, no synthetic ingredients, which will leave your hair squeaky clean and your skin super soft. Check out their full collection for men here.
And they've offered Arthur & Henry customers and readers a brilliant 20% off until 19th September with code GPHOMME. Valid on any products not just the mens range. So buy for yourself or for the women in your life.