Little Green Radicals started life in 2005 and along with People Tree and a couple of other great brands we were the first to get Fairtrade certification in the UK. This means our cotton farmers get a guaranteed price for their cotton and a premium which they decide what to do with. And it’s a privilege to work with fantastic cotton growers like Chetna who now have nearly 36,000 cotton farmers. Of course, it also means decent working conditions throughout our supply chain and everything is organic too. This is particularly important for cotton farmers because intensive pesticide use is harmful to growers and their families.
When most people set up a business like ours they choose something they like making. Of course, I love the creative process, though I am only a minor contributor to it these days, which is just as well! For me, though, I wanted to set up a Fairtrade company and what we made was less important than how we made it. After reading about the reality of being a cotton farmer when, for example, the market price drops to a level that means you can’t even cover your costs, I chose cotton. But really I chose Fairtrade.
Today we are halfway through Fairtrade Fortnight and the Fairtrade movement has come a long way since we started. But it is still in the foothills. Almost every week we still read about fashion companies that let themselves, and the people who grow their cotton and make their clothes, down. If they chose Fairtrade it wouldn’t be like that. If only they understood it isn’t just about what you make, it’s about how you make it. About a way of being.