Fairtrade label People Tree launches charitable Foundation
February 23, 2009 by greenmystyle
Greenmystyle.com editor Sarah Woodhead was delighted to share an early cup of Fairtrade coffee with Jo Wood and People Tree founder Safia Minney on the launch day of Fairtrade Fortnight (pictured). Safia and Jo were launching the People Tree Foundation, an organisation which aims to help green up your wardrobe. Greenmystyle.com’s Fairtrade Fortnight content is sponsored by ethical fashion boutique Equa.
The 10am start was a bit of a push, it being London Party Week and all, but Greenmystyle.com wouldn’t have missed this event for all the world. People Tree has long been a pioneer in establishing ethical fair trade pathways in the fashion industry, bringing fair trade clothing to the high street. Its new People Tree Foundation is the next glorious step.
The Foundation is essentially a charitable fund with clear goals to alleviate poverty, protect the environment and educate shoppers to the benefits of buying fair trade fashion. Jo Wood, founder of Jo Wood Organics beauty products, mum to Leah and wife to Ronnie, is onboard and ready to door-knock herself to raise the cash the Foundation needs.
Jo and Safia, who’s People Tree label is stocked at Equa and Topshop amongst many others, took a trip together to Bangladesh recently, so that Jo could see for herself the difference that fair trading makes to communities involved in garment manufacturing.
“When Safia mentioned a trip to Bangladesh, my first thought was ‘Yay, Bangladesh!,’ said Jo. “I really didn’t expect to see what I did. It was a real eye opener. It really made me think about where my clothes were made.”
Safia (pictured above, centre) first took Jo to see Swallows, an organisation in Bangladesh which supports garment industry workers, mostly women, with a fair wage, a creche and schooling for their children while they work. Swallows keeps families and lives intact.
Jo then went to visit a slum only five hours away in which garment industry workers live and work for less than half the local monthly living wage of Tk 5333 or £44.82 (the amount it would take to reasonably live), in terrible conditions and for as many as 80 hours a week.
“I was amazed at what better a life the Swallows women had,” said Jo. “There are schools and the women are with their children. It makes you want to put Swallows everywhere. The slums were awful. At first I thought it wasn’t so bad, but we weren’t even there yet. It got worse and worse. But these people were so dignified. I had a lot of respect for them.”
Jo and Safia want us to think about the clothing we buy, where it’s from, how it was made and whether the people that made it have been paid a fair wage. They also want the Government to introduce legislation to make businesses accountable for inhuman working conditions along their supply chain.
“It’s time for a change,” said Jo. “We need to make people more aware of where there clothes are made. If I didn’t have any idea, chances are other people don’t either. We want them to think ‘hold on, who made this?’. And go buy a pair of fair trade knickers too!”
More from Fairtrade Fortnight on greenmystyle.com
Fairtrade Fortnight starts today with a fashion fix
Fair trade showcase: CRED fine jewellery
Events: What’s on during Fairtrade Fortnight
Fair trade Daily Style Steal