International Women’s Day

 – March 8rd, 2019 –

International Women’s Day


This International Women’s Day come and see some of the brilliant work our partners in India are doing to support women and girls in their communities…

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Cotton Farmers: Chetna Organic Peace by Peace project 
Vocational training for women and girls

Chetna organic were the first group of smallholder cotton farmers in India to receive the Fairtrade Certificate in 2004. Since then, they have focussed on the development of women with projects like Peace by Peace which provides education funding and vocational training to help girls develop their skills, in addition to helping farmers transition to organic.

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Cotton Farmers: Suminter India Organics Project Disha 
Getting girls into higher education

The cotton farmers from Suminter use their Fairtrade Premium for projects including Project Disha, a mentor program which supports over 500 girls to go into higher education as well as providing financial assistance in the form of scholarships. They have also introduced a water-harnessing initiative to help combat severe water shortages, which dramatically affects the village women who otherwise have to carry water long distances for their families.

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Little Green Radicals Producers: Deeps Textiles 
Empowering women

Deeps, a long time supplier of Little Green Radicals, enable their female employees to become self reliant and independent by providing them with steady pay, skills training to allow job progression and healthcare with the aim of giving a better life today, and tomorrow.

(Beautiful images provided by Suminter India Organic & Deeps Textiles)

Fairtrade Fortnight 2019

 – March 3rd, 2019. Nick: LGR Founder –

Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade.  A way of being.

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.

 

Nick –  LGR Founder

Find out more about Fairtrade Fortnight 2019 -> 

Little Green Radicals In India

Tuesday September 18th, 2018 | By Josie, LGR Designer

LGR In India 

Behind every Little Green Radicals product is a story. Each piece is lovingly made by a group of skilled & dedicated individuals at one of our wonderful producers in India. As our Northern Lights collection is here, I wanted to tell you a little bit more about some of the amazing people who make our clothes . . .

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During my trip to India this summer I met with Punitha and her team (seen centre below) in the vibrant, colourful city of Kolkata. Punitha is one of our Head Merchandisers and has worked with us for over five years. Her eye for detail and in depth knowledge of every aspect of a Little Green Radicals helps to make our clothing so special.

 

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 Head Tailer Mohan (pictured below) is another invaluable member of our team. Mohan’s father was a Tailor before him, so he brings a huge amount of experience and knowledge to his craft. We’re forever thankful for the expertise of our Tailors and the high standard they achieve. Making long lasting clothing that not only looks beautiful but also stands the test of time involves many process. We want our clothes to be passed down again and again, so they need to survive new borns, excitable toddlers and adventuring kids. It’s not just the premium organic cotton we use but also the high quality accessories we source that means every piece we make reaches the standard we, and hopefully you, have come to expect from a Little Green Radicals product.

 

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During my trip I took a long and bumpy ride into the Indian countryside to visit one of the mills that make our organic cotton fabrics. We drunk a lot of Chai tea and had a hugely enjoyable day working on a new printing technique ensuring our colourful inks sit inside the dyed fabric, rather than on top, giving a much softer hand feel. We also took the extra step of pre-washing our collection to give an even softer finish. Many of our styles are still screen printed, which means each colour you see has been hand painted onto the fabric by a skilled printer, making each piece unique.

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It is always a privilege to meet the people who make our clothing and I hope you love wearing our Northern Lights collection as much as we enjoyed designing and making it.

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Fairtrade not fairly traded

Tuesday 17th July , 2017 – Nick: LGR Founder

Pop this in your basket: Fairtrade not fairly traded

Some of you may have seen the recent furore caused by Sainsbury’s decision to drop Fairtrade certification for its own brand Red Label tea and replace it with an in house Fairly Traded label.

Fairtrade is a young movement that only began in 1988 when the Dutch development agency Solidaridad set up the Max Havelaar label, which later morphed in to the Fairtrade label we know today. In less than 30 years it has come a long way. In fact, globally Fairtrade products now account for annual sales of 7.3 billion Euros.

During this rapid growth supermarkets have played an important role by making many Fairtrade staple items like coffee, tea and chocolate widely available to their customers. Under Justin King’s stewardship Sainsbury’s was in the vanguard of this change. So it’s a shame that Sainsbury’s is now chipping away at its own credibility by opting to replace Fairtrade with ‘fairly traded’ red label tea.

The point about Fairtrade is that it is independent and that the farmers – usually organised in co-operatives – who benefit from it have autonomy. The Fairtade movement decides the minimum price and the social premium and the farmers decide how they spend the extra money they get. Once you take this away and give control back to the supermarkets the ethics and the power of the farmers soon get diluted.To be fair Sainsbury’s is not the only one at it, Tesco’s is quietly testing the water for its own labelling too, and, of course, you can still find plenty of Fairtrade products in Sainsbury’s. But what happens if they get away with this?

I doubt in the end it will dent the Fairtrade movement, which is simply too powerful and too vital to go anywhere other than forwards. The Co-op and Waitrose are already renewing their Fairtrade vows and, in all likelihood, it is Sainsbury’s who will lose out as its position in the market becomes ill defined and its middle class audience vote with their wallets.

But in the meantime if you want to save Sainsbury’s from itself and make sure that existing Fairtrade farmers get their fair share and keep their autonomy why not join over 93,000 people and sign the petition

Bags of progress…

 – Our new sustainable recycled bags your lovely orders will be packaging in – 


Wednesday May 9th, 2017 – Nick: LGR Founder

Bags of progress

The guilt is huge.

For a very long time now you’ve been saying we must do something

about that nasty plastic packaging we send our stuff to you in, and I’ve been saying,

“Yes, we’re an eco company so we absolutely must do

something about that nasty plastic packaging.”

But then there’s the Fairtrade certification, the organic certification, the

quality improvements, sorting out the timing of our production, making sure the warehouse

systems work properly and all that other stuff that has to be done. And it always seemed

as if there wasn’t enough time to do the things that you really know must be done so you

can hold your head up high.

But finally, finally, we have done something about that nasty plastic packaging. To be clear

we have two plastic bags, the outer one in which we put everything in and then the plastic

bags that protect each item. Well sorting out the outer plastic bag was the easy bit. We’ve

replaced it with a lovely big brown paper, the one you see above.

It makes me feel good just looking at it.

But then what about the plastic bag for every single item, thousands and thousands of

them, what are we doing about that? That was a slightly tougher one. We decided we have

to have a plastic bag because the goods have to be protected on their long boat ride from

India and in their slightly cold, mildly musky warehouse. We looked at all the options. The

one we really want to do was to use corn starch to make compostable bags but sadly

when it was pointed out that they might compost after 6 months in the air we thought, what

if LGR fans don’t love every item enough for us to sell out quickly?

So in the end we went for the biodegradable and recyclable option. Not the absolutely best

solution but certainly progress. No filling up landfill sites with bags that live there for

200 years and no bags that end up polluting our seas, and choking marine life. We have

already quietly been bringing in these biodegradable bags from one of the factories we use but

from this Autumn it will be from all of them!

Bags of progress.

Now what’s next?

Who Makes Our Clothes?

 – This is Rachna & her team & and they make our wonderful clothes in India #imadeyourclothes –


Monday April 24th, 2017 – Nick: LGR Founder

Who Makes Our Clothes?

 

Most of us are in too much of a hurry to ask who makes our clothes but #whomademyclothes is a campaign for transparency and enlightened working and environmental practices in the fashion industry. It is sorely needed because in many cases if you knew a bit more than you do now about who made your clothes you wouldn’t feel quite so comfortable in them. Here are Little Green Radicals we know who makes your clothes, we know how they make them, we know the conditions they work in and we know what their impact is on the environment. We feel good to know the people who make your clothes and we hope you do too. Here are some of the great workers who have made some beautiful things your children might be wearing today.


         




Fairtrade Fortnight

Punitha & Ankita, two of our wonderful colleagues at our Fairtrade factory in India

 – March 8th, 2017. Nick: LGR Founder –

Fairtrade Fortnight

I’m on my fifth cup of Fairtrade coffee today. I help a lot of coffee growers this way! We’re in the middle of Fairtrade fortnight and it reminds me of why we do this.

Farmers are the poorest of the poor. They do not know what they will earn that year, whether it will cover their costs and give them enough left over to feed their family, even maybe enough to support their children in education.

Back in 2005 Little Green Radicals was one of a select group of companies in the UK who got Fairtrade cotton certification when it launched. I’m pretty sure we are the only children’s fashion company from that time that still proudly carriers the Fairtrade mark.

So what does it mean? For the farmers it provides a guaranteed price plus a premium, whatever the market price, that goes to the community. So if the market price takes a dive, farmers have a much higher level of security than in the conventional market. And the premium is used to support the community. It might be building a school, or a well, but little by little Fairtrade farmers see an improvement in their livelihood.

The Fairtrade mark on cotton also guarantees Labour standards throughout the supply chain, including the factory.

I haven’t been out to visit Faitrade cotton farmers for a while but it’s a humbling experience. You can feel slightly embarrassed when they start making speeches in your honour and, of course, you have to make one too, which is always well received even if it is not understood. It seems a bit over the top and you try to explain that its no big deal. But it is a big deal to them, a very big deal.  

Nick –  LGR Founder

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