• People Tree’s Fair Trade Day in London as told by winner Sarah Sakimoto

    I was absolutely ecstatic when I found out that I had won People Tree’s Fair Trade Day competition!  I had received a general outline for the day, but I had no idea that I would learn and experience so much in a single day!

    We were accompanied throughout the day by People Tree’s public relations officer, Mia Hadrill and Safia Minney as well!  We were very honoured to have the CEO of People Tree hanging out with us all day!

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    The day began at Divine Chocolate where we were met by the Managing Director Sophi Tranchell.  I was impressed that someone so high level would come down and speak to us about what Fair Trade means to Divine – I guess they are just so passionate about spreading the word about Fair Trade that they’re happy to take time out of their busy schedules to educate and inform the public.  It was really enlightening to hear about all the work that Divine do in regards to Fair Trade.  I had no idea that part of having a Fair Trade agreement meant that Divine also did things like create local village schools for the children of the village in order to improve opportunities and education for those working in the Fair Trade cocoa industry.

    Sophi at Divine

    We ended the talk at Divine by tasting some of their chocolate, including two new flavours that won’t even be released until the Christmas season.  These were milk chocolate with apple and spice and dark chocolate with pear and ginger – it really made me think of the holidays!  I was already so happy having tasted all this excellent chocolate that I was even more excited when we were given a goody bag of virtually one of everything from their chocolate collection!

    Divine

    We then went to People Tree’s head office where they have all of their new collections laid out for us to see – they look amazing!  We got a tour around the office and several different members of the People Tree team came down and spoke to us about People Tree’s ethos and all of the work they do in the countries where they get their materials made.

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    Again, I was blown away with how much work they did in these other countries to ensure that the high standards of the World Fair Trade Organisation were being upheld.  All the producers are not only given the opportunity to make these great products and be paid a fair price for it, they are also given opportunities to learn a new trade, or receive things that will enrich their lives.  An example of this that I was especially moved by was the wheelchair campaign that People Tree carried out in Kenya with the Bombolulu company.  We watched a video of Safia Minney herself in Kenya distributing wheelchairs to disabled children.  I never realised that being a Fair Trade company meant also giving so much back to the community!

    Watch the Wheelchair Campaign Video by clicking here.

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    We had a break in the day to go get some lunch at Suzzle on Brick Lane.  We got to eat some fantastic food there that also happened to be gluten free!  I had the goat’s cheese and red pepper quiche, which had an excellent tanginess and a crunchy crust.  It was a tough decision to make as I was also eyeing up the bacon, cheese and potato pastie.  Melanie, the owner and head chef came down to talk to us about her cafe and, although she was very modest, was also very pleased to have been selected for a spotlight in the Financial Times Culture section and was excited for the interview taking place the following day.  She also mentioned how local (and quite famous!) artists Gilbert & George often come in to pick up pasties for their lunch while they are working.  We were all a bit starstruck when Gilbert Prousch himself came in to order pasties about 15 minutes later.  We ended our lunch by having some moist, decadent cakes – the Fair Trade dark chocolate brownie was especially memorable!

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    I thought the day couldn’t possibly get any better, but just before we left People Tree, Mia directed us toward  a table full of Fair Trade goodies that were for us to take home!  There were Fair Trade herbs and spices, clothing from People Tree (including a Zandra Rhodes purple seashell dress that is absolutely beautiful!), jewellery from People Tree and even more chocolate!  I was also very touched that Mia managed to find some People Tree items for babies (I’m currently 8 months pregnant) so now I have organic, Fair Trade bibs, hats and booties for my son!

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    After we left People Tree, we were taken over to The Zetter Townhouse Hotel where we were staying for the night.  The Zetter hotel carries out all sorts of sustainable business practices and the hotel definitely lives up to their high eco-friendly standards.  Despite being one of the most eco-friendly hotels in London, the Zetter still managed to be stylish and luxurious at the same time.  I loved the layout of the building, the friendly staff, the rain shower and the (much-needed) air conditioning (that switches off automatically when you leave the room or open the windows).

    Everyone at The Duke of Cambridge

    After a short rest, we headed over to meet Safia and Mia again at the Duke of Cambridge organic restaurant and pub for dinner.  It was a bustling pub that looked very popular – it seemed unlikely that such a popular pub would also do good food.  However, I was quickly proven wrong as their locally-sourced, organic menu was very impressive.  I had scallops in a garlic butter to start that were absolutely divine.  My main course was a new and unique dish I had never heard of before that involved a mixture of lentils, rice and pasta in a tomato sauce, which was simple but delicious.  For dessert, I had a plum crème brulee that was rich and creamy with just the right amount of tartness from the plums.  My husband had a mixed berry cheesecake that he said was the best cheesecake he’d ever had!

    Cheesecake Duke

    It was an absolutely perfect day where I not only learned so much about Fair Trade, but I also got to be completely immersed in it throughout the day whilst hanging out with the exceptional and inspirational Safia Minney and Mia Hadrill.  They made sure that our Fair Trade day would never be forgotten!

     

    Thank you so much People Tree!

     

  • Keep Cool This Summer

    While we have been fortunate enough to enjoy some glorious weather at People Tree HQ, we understand the importance of keeping cool without compromising on style. We have compiled for you a mini guide on staying cool this summer with some of the best tips to keep you feeling refreshed for longer:

    Keep hydrated

    Water is one of the purest and greatest gifts from nature and keeping hydrated will go a long way towards helping you stay cool this summer. For that extra special treat, a refreshing touch of homemade lemonade will quench your thirst in the long summer days.

    Source: Party Artistry on tumblr

    Squeeze a few lemons, mix with water and sugar to taste – you can even add a slice of cucumber – chill for however long you wish, and voila! Old-fashioned homemade lemonade, ready to bring back memories of long childhood summer days.

    Wear organic cotton

    We cannot stress the importance of wearing natural organic cotton in hot weather. Our garments are lovingly handmade by skilled artisans in India and Bangladesh who understand the importance of breathable fabrics, allowing your skin to keep cool in a warm climate. Our designs don’t compromise on style, so you can benefit from the best of both worlds. See more designs here.

    People Tree Organic Cotton T-shirtPeople Tree Organic Cotton Pencil SkirtPeople Tree Organic Cotton T-shirtPeople Tree Organic Cotton Skater Dress

    Increase the amount of fruit and vegetables in your diet

    Fruit and vegetables are full of vitamins, enabling you to feel full quicker without the need for heavy meals. This keeps you cooler, while giving you more energy for the long summer days ahead.

    Source: Pinterest

    Source: Pinterest

    Pineapples are full of vitamin C, manganese and vitamin B1, helping digestion and increasing your body’s natural defences.

    50 shades…

    …Or any other number of shades! According to beauty studies, keeping in the shade may delay the ageing process, prolonging your skin’s firmness. While a shade of tan is sought after by many, an important way to keep cool is to lounge in the shade or invest in a beautiful Fair Trade hat by Pachacuti.

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    Panama Hat by Pachacuti

    How are you keeping cool this summer? Send us your ideas and pics on Instagram, twitter and Facebook: #keepcool.

  • Inside People Tree’s Fair Trade Day in London Luxury Prize Hamper

    Earlier this year, in support of World Fair Trade Day, which is organised by the World Fair Trade Organisation and sits on the second Saturday of May, People Tree held a competition. The prize was an exciting day and night in London learning about social business. The celebration also included a hamper filled to the brim with organic and Fair Trade goodies!

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    On the 25th July Sarah and Sarah, the two winners and a guest each, spent the morning with Sophi Trunchel the CEO of Divine Chocolate; they then had lunch at Suzzle with Mel the owner ; for the afternoon they were with us at People Tree; followed by dinner at the Duke of Cambridge, the first certified organic pub in London; and a night at The Zetter, an amazing Green Tourism Gold Star hotel.

     

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    People Tree also made a hamper for each lovely couple with an abundance of Fair Trade and organic goodies. To do this we brought in some help from other companies with beautiful Fair Trade and organic products. Here is a little background about each company.

    Divine choc

    Divine makes delicious chocolate in many exciting flavours. Divine is the only Fairtrade chocolate company which is 45% owned by cocoa farmers. While Fairtrade ensures farmers receive a better deal for their cocoa and additional income to invest in their community, company ownership gives farmers a share of Divine’s profits and a stronger voice in the cocoa industry.

    traidcraft

    Traidcraft’s mission is to fight poverty through trade, practising and promoting approaches to trade that help poor people in developing countries transform their lives. Their producers make clothing, jewellery, food and household products.

    choc affair

    Choc Affair is a wonderful family run business from Yorkshire, who manufacture and package everything by hand, only ever working with the best high quality, certified Fairtrade chocolate.

    crazy jack

    Crazy Jack have been at the forefront of the organic food movement for decades. The company began in 1971 when six friends got together in their squat in Kentish town and decided to bring natural, organic produce to the UK. Every year they continue to grow and are now available in all leading supermarkets.

    lush

    Lush is an ethical cosmetics company making fresh handmade products in the UK. Lush uses great ingredients including many fruit and vegetables, essential oils, honey and beeswax in their products. They use no animal fats their products and test on volunteers not animals.

    doves farm

    Doves Farm are brilliant organic flour specialists. They are devoted to maintaining organic, ethical and fair trade agricultural systems, nurturing partnerships with suppliers and supporting local community projects.

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    Visionary Soap are a pioneer in fair trade body care. They work extensively with Fairtrade suppliers, guaranteeing a fair living wage is paid to the workers and in return receiving a high quality ingredient for their own products. None of their products contain palm oil, synthetic dyes or fragrances, parabens, petroleum-based ingredients, alcohol, sodium laureth sulfate or animal products. They are completely handmade and work with more Fairtrade producer groups than anyone else in the industry.

    cocoa loco

    Cocoa Loco live, breathe, dream only the best Fairtrade and organic chocolate. Their chocolate is incredible, single origin, lovingly handmade in small batches by skilled chocolatiers in West Sussex.

    suma

    Suma is the UK’s largest independent wholefood wholesaler/distributor. As a workers’ co-operative the business is jointly owned and managed by all of the staff. Everyone is paid the same and they collectively do all the jobs that need doing. They have always acknowledged a responsibility to the people who grow the food and are a licensee of the Fairtrade Foundation. Also, all of Suma’s body care, cosmetic and household products are cruelty-free.

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    We were also given copies of ‘Fighting the Banana Wars and other Fairtrade battles’, written by Harriet Lamb, by Random House to put in the hamper.

    The day was a great success and the winners were thrilled with their prizes. People Tree love spreading the important message of being Fair Trade and this was a really fun way to do it!

     

  • Chere di Boscio’s Ethical People Tree Summer Picks

    People Tree

    Today, on The Thread, Paris based Chere Di Boscio, Editor in Chief of Eluxe Magazine, tells us about her favourite People Tree picks for a sustainable summer.

    Chere di Boscio - Profile

    After working as a luxury fashion magazine editor in Dubai and Paris for several years, Chere Di Boscio founded Eluxe Magazine to allow her to focus on her passion: eco-friendly and ethical fashion and lifestyles. A coffee, film and yoga fanatic, Chere dreams of living simply, surrounded by the sea.

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    It’s hard to choose just a few pieces that I love from the People Tree Spring – Summer  collection as I think it’s one of your best yet, but if I had to pick just three, one would be the Christy Checked Flared Dress in Navy, because it’s got a flattering cut and a classic print.

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    I adore the Maria Funnel Neck Jumper because the collar elongates the neck, and it’s always a good idea to have a white sweater around, no matter what the season.

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    The last piece I love (though I could choose many more!) is the Chloe Blazer jacket, which is perfect for walking around Paris, where I live.

    I have to say… I also love all the Orla Kiely Flower Girl print dresses!

    Eluxe Magazine is a quarterly published paper magazine and a digital publication based in London and Paris, dedicated to showcasing brands that demonstrate a strong commitment to environmental sustainability.  They determine the sustainability of a brand on several factors, including whether it:

    • Uses organic, biodegradable, recycled or renewable materials
    • Traces the environmental accountability of the product throughout the supply chain
    • Follows a strict Corporate Sustainability Policy, with transparent annual reports
    • Uses recyclable, recycled or no packaging
    • Creates a product whose consumption can greatly reduce the owner’s environmental impact.

    Eluxe Magazine also donates 10% of its annual profits to environmental and animal charities.

    To visit  Eluxe Magazine and read more of their People Tree reviews click here.

     

     

     

  • “Clothes to Die for” The BBC2 Documentary

     

    Here in the People Tree office, all the staff were very moved by this week’s BBC2 This World documentary, ‘Clothes to Die For’, available on BBC2 iPlayer for another two days but if you don’t have the time to watch it you can download a copy within the next two days and watch it later. It is beautifully shot and really worth a watch.

    The documentary shows the beauty and chaos of Bangladesh, in particular Dhaka, as well as the beauty of the people. On my recent trip to Dhaka with People Tree to visit our Producer Groups in Bangladesh, I was struck by how inherently artistic the country is. Simple cars, bikes and rickshaws that we take for granted are covered in such beautiful art work and decoration, not to mention the women’s saris, with batik, hand embroidery, sequins and incredibly vibrant colours. The sense of community intermingled with an enormous chaos, insane traffic and to-ing and fro-ing is what makes Bangladesh such a wonderful country. Unfortunately amongst this beautiful chaos, is a darker side of life, that can be almost compared to a type of slavery, people trapped in a cycle of poverty by subsistence wages and lack of education.

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    My heart truly broke to hear the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse speak about their experience. It was a déjà vu back to Karachi, Pakistan where I was in January 2013 with the Clean Clothes Campaign interviewing families of victims of a garment factory fire  echoing exactly the same tragic stories.  The incalculable tragedy of multiple family members dying in such tragic and unnecessary circumstances. Families left without bread winners, without compensation and struggling to get by on a daily basis. Families left with a sense that for the price of a cheap pair of jeans, the world had forgotten them and didn’t care. It’s sometimes hard to identify with these tragedies until you meet victims face to face, it’s hard to convey the sense of injustice I felt as well as pain for these mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters who spent days searching through burnt remains for their loved ones. I was really happy to see that ‘Clothes to Die For’ gave a real sense of the tragedy and loss, without being sensational, but by just focusing on the personal stories and experiences giving the workers a platform and a voice, and allowing them to tell their own story.

    I firmly believe that we all have a part to play in changing the fashion industry for better. After the Rana Plaza building collapse everyone is looking to play the blame game. But the reality is we are all involved and we each need to take on the responsibility that lies with us. This responsibility is different for each party, the factory owners, the Bangladeshi government, the buyers, the retailers, the governments of the retailers and us, the consumers. We are part of a chain; the garment passes through the workers hands and ends up in ours. No one is fully to blame, but likewise no one devoid of responsibility. And as consumers we can do something, we can shop better, buy fair and demand fair. This will make a difference.

    Working at People Tree means being part of something which gives consumers the option of buying fairly made clothes, where profit is also driven back into the community and where producers have the right to freedom of association, a living wage and a safe work place. People Tree develops long term relationships with Producer Groups not defined by cost and price, but defined by opportunity, development, capacity building and potential.

    After seeing both sides of the industry, I just hope that conventional businesses will start to follow the same principles of Fair Trade and that consumers will also support fair fashion to help keep it viable for everyone in the supply chain.

    Peopletree’s Take – One Year On: Rana Plaza Building Collapse FULL FILM

     

    Clare Nally is Peopletree’s Fair Trade & Sustainable supply chain coordinator & outreach

    Clare has a Masters in International Human Rights Law from the Irish Centre of Human Rights, NUIG and has spent a year working with the Dublin branch of the Clean Clothes Campaign, an international alliance of organisations set up to improve working conditions in the global garment manufacturing industry.