What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
At every stage of the supply chains of the global fashion industry there are regularly huge exploitation of people and planet. An example of the worst cases are when farmers are driven to suicide when they cannot sell their crop for the cost of producing it with unnecessary pesticides, lose their land, dignity and will to live. Another example could be the draining of the Aral Sea due to over use of water. Another could be sweatshop labour keeping people trapped in the prison of poverty. The list goes on!
One of the biggest issues is that people think that this is just the way that things are. This is where we come in and have built an amazing value chain community beautiful from cotton to bottom to prove that fashion can change the world! HOWEVER, this is based on trade, and without trade it won’t work. So the Bonk of Pants campaign will act as the catalyst for our amazing programmes to scale and act as the catalyst for transformation across the industry. Sweet dreams are made of this!
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
- According to the World Health Organisation one million people are hospitalised and 20,000 farmers in developing countries die every year from pesticide poisoning.
- Although pesticides are used globally, 99% of the related deaths happen in developing countries.
- On average, 7 farmers a day over the past 15 years have committed suicide as a result of unfair trade in Vidarbha, India.
- If farmed inefficiently, up to 30,000 litres of water can be used to harvest just 1 kilo of cotton fibre.
- 500,000 children are involved in forced child labour in cotton seed production in India today.
- 8 years ago there was no GMO cotton seed in India. Today it represents 92% of all cotton seed and costs farmers c.100% more than other varieties.
- Total CO2 emmissions for the textile industry are estimated to be 18.72 million tonnes a year and in India the sector uses up 9% of all of the country’s available energy.
- Dyeing 1 kilo of cotton typically uses 100 litres of water.
- There is only one large scale production factory in the world (so far) that pays all staff a real living wage.
- 60% of energy consumed during the life cycle of an organic cotton product comes from caring for the product- washing, drying and ironing.
- Every year in the UK, 1.8 million tonnes of textile waste is sent to landfills
What is your solution?
We have spent the last 7 years rebuilding the textiles supply chain to prove it can be sustainable. We’ve done this, and so now need to scale it. To scale it we need to invest in it and open up our value chain community to consumers as investors. Hence the bonk!
No other brands we know of can trace their supply chain back to seed like we can. Nestled in the heart of luscious hills criss-crossed with rivers are the villages of Semla, Banjipali and Kuibahal in Orissa who the pants bonk will enable us to work with forever. Surrounding the villages as far as the eye can see are miles and miles of beautiful organic farms supported by the company that the farmers own: http://www.chetnaorganic.org.in. Sourcing our cotton directly from the villages supporting them on education programmes, fairtrade premiums and much more, we then transport the cotton to production with no child labour and only with paying fair wages to workers at our amazing garment partner http://www.armstrongknittingmills.com. Through carbon neutral production, a new real living wage and empowerment programme, and much more, they manufacture our gorgeous underwear and together with Chetna form the basis of our value chain community.
We’re also working with big businesses like Deloitte to build brand new impact measurement tools so that we can quantify and communicate the social, environmental and financial profit from cotton to bottom to all stakeholders. This is called our 3 dimensional profit and loss statement!
However, we are a social business and not a charity, and so the only way to create and expand on our impact to expand our value chain community and really prove that our way of social business is better business, and, ultimately we’ll do to old business what new media did to old media! We need you to make it happen!
£100k in 100 days
Our business currently maintains a net 15% financial profit achieved through the dedication and passion of our staff, a small grant from Unltd and some very kind people lending us funds to assist with cashflow. However, the increase in capital created by the successful completion of this campaign will move us a lot closer to our aim of becoming the greatest underwear brand on the planet, we just need your help to get there, providing you with many great benefits in return.
How will you deliver this?
Pants to Poverty’s Plan of Action:
- Launch the brand into leading department stores in the UK, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Japan and Australia.
- Launch a series of value chain community programmes coordinated by our sister charity Pi Foundation to scale these solutions well beyond the impact of our pants.
- Engage and encourage other retailers and brands to buy textiles through our value chain community.
- Roll out new website linking farmers, factory workers, retailers and consumers into one online community.
- Implement a new profit and loss model that will see us be able to measure and communicate our social, environmental and financial profit so that we can run our business at a real (not superficial) profit
- Democratise the business so that it is owned and governed by all of the stakeholders within our value chain community, embracing the factory workers, farmers, lenders, consumers, staff and retailers.
Where the money will go:
£20,000 – Build an integrated IT infrastructure to embrace all members of the value chain community. This would normally cost over £40,000+ but we’ve got a discount!
£25,000 – Funds to cover 3 new posts for 6 months seed funding (they will be self-financing after this period.
£10,000 – New sales and marketing campaign linking the farmers, factory workers and retailers to create huge social, environmental and financial benefits for some of the most marginalised farmers on the planet.
£45,000 – Working capital to cover duty and VAT payments when stock comes into the country.
Recycling money to maximise impact:
Profits from the sale of our pants will then be donated to The Pi Foundation (our sister charity) to go towards programmes such as setting up and scaling farmer owned seed companies and developing empowerment programmes in garment factories to generate a real living wage for all workers.