Here at Countryside Art we care passionately about the environment and our social responsibilities as a company. Our customers also care a lot too, so we are often asked about where our cotton comes from and how it is produced.
We are very pleased our customers share our concerns and want the products they are buying to be produced in an ethical way. So we always want to assist with as much transparency and clarity as possible about our sourcing policy. Hence our publishing this blog on our cotton and how we are able to monitor the way in which it is produced.
Because cotton goes through many processes, the way to ensure good practice is through organised, world-recognised, accreditation schemes that follow this important raw material through all the stages of its production.
We can guarantee being able to trace all of our fabrics back to where the yarn is sourced, where it is processed, spun and woven, to where it is finished and prepared for print.
How do we achieve this:-
We have just two UK-based suppliers who source on our behalf and only use selected accredited yarn suppliers and mills with whom they in turn have trusted relationships. For reasons of commercial sensitivity we cannot publish the names of our suppliers in the blog so we will call them Supplier 1 and Supplier 2.
Supplier 1 is SEDEX registered. (SEDEX are one of the world’s leading ethical trade service providers, working to improve working conditions in global supply chains. They provide practical tools, services and a community network to help companies improve their responsible and sustainable business practices, and source responsibly). Read more about SEDEX at sedex.com
Supplier 2 is STeP audited by OEKO-TEX. (STeP by OEKO-TEX® is an independent certification system for brands, retailers and manufacturers from the textile and leather industry. Certification is suitable for production facilities at all processing stages who want to communicate their environmental measures externally in a credible and transparent way. The goal of STeP is to implement environmentally friendly production processes in the long term, to improve health and safety and to promote socially responsible working conditions at production sites). Read more about STeP by OEKO-TEX® at oeko-tex.com
Countryside Art Ltd is also SEDEX registered.
Supplier 1 is also in the process of moving all their cotton over to The Better Cotton Initiative. (The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is a global not-for-profit organisation and the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world. BCI exists to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future). Read more about The Better Cotton Initiative at bettercotton.org
All our grade 1 yarn is from the USA and is woven in Pakistan and India. We do not buy any cotton from China.
The majority of our cotton is finished and prepared for print here in the UK to our exacting specifications.
How sustainable is cotton as a crop:-
We buy top quality yarn from the USA where over the years farmers have striven to reduce the amount of chemical input to the crop, halving the amounts of pesticides used over the last 20 years. But chemicals are still needed to grow non-organic cotton which is why we offer a large range of organic cotton options.
Cotton can be considered more sustainable than man-made synthetic fabrics as it does not produce micro-plastic fibres which also pollute the environment in unseen ways.
Is organic cotton a good alternative and what accreditations apply:-
We believe only buying and selling organic cotton is the long term future we are aiming for as a company. Our plans for moving quickly in this direction have been temporarily delayed by the current situation caused by covid-19. But we are working with our two suppliers in adding to our range of organic cottons whilst we work towards our final aim.
We do not buy any organic cotton from China. Most of our organic cotton is produced in India. Our organic fabrics are covered by GOTs. (GOTS is a textile production certification that limits the use of toxic bleaches, dyes and other chemical inputs during the production process of textiles. It is internationally recognized as the toughest organic textile standard because it goes far beyond verifying the organic farming process to include every step of manufacturing). Read more about GOTs at global-standard.org
Supplier 1 also works with the Soil Association. (Soil Association Certification Ltd (SACL) is a not-for-profit subsidiary of the Soil Association charity, independently providing organic certification services and advisory support on all aspects of organic certification). Read more about the Soil Association at soilassociation.org
Finally we are asked is our cotton Fair Trade:-
Because we feel we have taken every effort to ensure our cotton is fully accredited and ethically produced we have not gone down the Fair Trade route – despite totally endorsing everything for which the organisation stands.
We have also not applied for Fairtrade accreditation ourselves as all our products are all sewn here in our UK factory where we uphold the highest employment standards. Read more about Fair Trade at fairtradecertified.org
So we hope the above information will be enough to reassure you that the provenance of our non-organic cotton is both ethical and totally traceable plus our organic cotton is also completely environmentally friendly too.
If you’d like more info on any aspect of our company, our Ethical & Environmental Policy or our products such as our organic cotton tea towels please email us at email@example.com, call on 01790 754806 or get in touch via our Contact Page.
Best wishes as always for a fairer, greener and better future for everyone
Kathy Brookes, Sales Director