Ethical manufacturing practices
When we discovered Vipaltex, a textile manufacturer based in Porto, Portugal we knew we had found a company whose values were in line with our own ethos. Vipaltex is a family run business and, as you can see from the photos, the staff work in the kind of factory environment all garments should (ideally) be made in. We have met all the staff involved in the production of our clothes and have a close relationship with Vipaltex. What we were particularly drawn to is the fact that Vipaltex own both the mill and a small textile factory, this is very rare but it means that everything is done under one roof from the production of the fabric to the packing of our finished t-shirt. We can say with pride that we know exactly who makes your clothes!
For 16 years Vipaltex have worked closely with Ralope, a local screen printer who has grown his business just five employees to fifty, and it is here that our t-shirts are hand screen printed. Screen Printing is a type of stencil printing, where ink passes through a fabric or mesh screen, most decals you see on the front of t-shirts have been mass produced by commercial screen printing companies using machines, hand screen printing necessitates a slower production rate is labour intensive and requires requires a skilled man power however we are sure you’ll agree a high quality, hand produced print made with skill, time and a passion for the job wins every time.
There are pros and cons in using the standard plastisol inks and water-based inks. After much research, we have gone with the water-based inks as they are less toxic, last longer and are softer to the touch. While they require more energy to cure, we think that’s better than the plastisol inks which contain PVC and phthalates both harmful to the environment and to humans with research showing that they are linked to many medical disorders.
Both Vipaltex and Ralope have certification OEKO-TEX®. This is a worldwide consistent, independent testing and certification system for raw, semi-finished, and finished textile products at all processing levels. It means that you can rest assured that no nasty, hazardous chemicals are used in the production of your organic cotton Earthmonk clothes. We can also confirm that absolutely no animal derived ingredients are used within our garments meaning our vegan customers can shop with us with confidence.
Manufacturing in Portugal does mean that we need to ship the goods over to the UK. We recognise that this has a consequence on Earthmonk’s carbon footprint. In the future we would like to look into having our garments made with Britain but for now we hope that our work with The Chaikuni Institute goes someway to offsetting this aspect of production.
Click here to see a copy of the factory’s organic cotton manufacturing certificate.
Our beanies are made using New Zealand Wool farmed with voluntary agreements to avoid the controversial practice of ‘Mulesing.’ They are hand knitted in Nepal within the family home by women who receive good wages for working fair hours. The production and shipping is Sedex accredited and there is an annual contribution to Carbon Footprint Ltd to offset emissions created in transporting the products. There is also a contribution made to community initiatives in Kathmandu Valley following the disastrous earthquakes of 2015.