What does it mean to call a product ‘Ethically Sourced’?

   2019-05-24       122        Fashion
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Himalayan Hand Knits from ‘Door to the Himalayas’ adhere to The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals aims to end poverty, ensure prosperity and protect the planet.

There are numerous interpretations and every company will apply their own definition to imply that a product has followed a series of moral guidelines from conception to consumer.

Ethically Sourced Himalayan Hand Knits

Our Himalayan Hand Knits from ‘Door to the Himalayas’ adhere to The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals aims to end poverty, ensure prosperity and protect the planet: it is with these goals in mind that the journey begins.

Sourcing the products

The first stage is to seek out existing producers of potential products, travelling by road and foot into mountain villages to meet the skilled artisans who have been making these products often for years and generations in order to supply the local market. This hands-on approach to sourcing provides an opportunity to observe the state of welfare within these isolated communities with regards to poverty, health, access to clean water, education provision, gender equality, work conditions. It also enables us to see whether it is possible through small trade initiatives to improve livelihoods without impacting too heavily on traditional ways of life.

Working in partnership, we aim to support these artisans respectfully to grow and develop a sustainable route to market - if this is what they require. At the first meeting with the Botiya Tribe in a small village on the Indo Tibetan border, communicating in the language of smiles and hugs, and most importantly appreciation of the hand spun hand knitted socks and traditionally woven blankets, resulted in growing a range of products for the international market. When natural disasters resulted in fewer pilgrims and decreased local market demand, we were able to increase orders to ensure steady income.

Raw Materials

The Botiyas are a part of the shepherding community which settled high up in the Himalayas. Animal welfare is always a consideration as is the sustainability of farming methods in ethical sourcing. This sheep of the Botiyas graze freely on land which has been managed in the same way for generations. Twice a year, the sheep are clipped by hand and the fleece is gathered and washed in the fresh flowing mountain streams by local village women. They are gathered in bundles to use for spinning and knitting and the rest is taken to market.

Production

The production process is best described as a small-scale community of women who ‘knit and natter’: this cottage industry brings the community together, with some women preferring to deburr and card the fibres, and others preferring to spin on the balcony or sitting together in small groups working together whilst the children are at school. Aspirations for their children and access to education do mean that inevitably there will be a move away from this traditional way of life, but for now a sustainable partnership is providing improvements in livelihoods and wider opportunities for next generation.

Pricing and Delivery

Importing the end product and selling it worldwide will leave an uncomfortable carbon footprint, but this is offset to some extent by the sustainable farming and production methods of the Botiyas. Anyone involved in ethical commerce is frequently asked the question, “But what do they get paid?” The answer to this question is simple: whatever they ask for. Should this price feel too low, and you are able to increase the amount and still make a profit without pricing the end product out of the market, then you negotiate the price up a little - whilst still ensuring a fair price for the consumer

Helen Philips – Door to the Himalayas Ltd

Author Signature :


Nicolas Bell well known the culture of Himalaya and Kashmir handcraft and Handknits and provide information about Himalaya handcraft and Handknits Products.

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Nicolas Bell

Nicolas Bell well known the culture of Himalaya and Kashmir handcraft and Handknits and provide information about Himalaya handcraft and Handknits Products. ..


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