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By the Numbers—Our Partnerships in India (part 2)

Welcome back to our series about the partnerships we hold with numerous artisans throughout the world. This week’s post is a continuation in our series that highlight our partnerships with artisans in India.

(if you have yet to read our previous post, By the Numbers—Our Partnerships in India part 1, we recommend doing so — it provides a lot of background information we think you’ll find really informative.)

Last week we discussed the current economic and social/working status of those living in India and set the scene for how we are dedicated to impact change through our partnerships. Today we want to touch on how our partnerships are making such impacts.

Shifting the issues.
Environmental conditions have been a major issue in India for many years. While India has been known for having one of the fastest growing populations, it is far behind most countries when it comes to preserving the habitat and the ecology. As we mentioned in our previous post, until May of 2018, India had been home to the largest number of people living in poverty for decades. With more pressing concerns at hand (such as feeding their families), the need to preserve the environment is often overshadowed.

Of such conditions, 80% of sewage is untreated and flows directly into local streams and rivers. The number of polluted waterways has doubled in the last five years and is preventing many communities from having access to a water source. The health of those whose only water is from an unclean environment is a major concern.

Though there’s still much change to be had, we’ve been able to contribute to efforts that are shifting this issue.

Your purchases have helped fund a water filtration system for a community of artisans, annually saving up to 1 million gallons of water by removing toxins. Filtered water protects the body from disease and leads to overall better health. Something as clean water has drastically improved the lives of many and will continue to impact this community for years to come.

Repurposing better purposes.
Although a less direct and immediate impact, many of our products from India (and from other countries we partner with) are made from a variety of vegan leather sources, an impact that also has substantial benefits. Traditionally, materials used to make products from real leather and bone are gathered inhumanely and the tanning of these leathers uses strong chemicals. Our styles that use real animal products use materials from naturally deceased animals, or animals bred for consumption. No animals are ever killed simply for the use of our products. Our leather products are also colored with a natural vegetable tanning process rather than harsh chemicals.

The fashion industry is a known contributor to waste and landfill bulk. Annually, 55 million tons of waste is produced in India and 94% of that goes straight to the landfill. According to the World Wildlife Fund, more than 50 thousand square miles of forests are lost each year. We are huge advocators for sustainable living and statistics like these don’t support the efforts toward sustainability without action.

Whenever possible, our products are made using repurposed materials. Our artisans will often partner with other businesses in their areas to collect unused materials to then be made into our accessory and apparel styles. Furthermore, we ensure all of our products that contain wood are harvested from fast growing, sustainable sources (like bamboo), are crafted from dead and dropped trees, or are replaced with planned and responsible deforestation. Many of our products that are not made from repurposed materials can be recycled or composted at the end of their life cycle.

We’re shifting mindsets to practice reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle. That extra step our Indian artisans take ensures an additional lifetime for such resources and you can impact that change, too, by purchasing Fair Trade.

Because we live in a society that values the “fast-and-now” mantra, shipping products by air travel has become the idealized method. While it is the fastest method, it greatly increases the carbon footprint of each product—about 30x when compared to shipping products by sea. Whenever possible, we ship all inventory from our artisans by sea. This also helps keep our costs low and we pass that savings along to our customers.

Faster (not to mention cheaper) isn’t always better. Be a part of a movement that counts, not a movement that only counts seconds.

Let’s drive.
And with that, we conclude the first feature for our partnership series. India is an amazing country with amazing people. We have been blessed with the partnerships we have, and we are excited to see what the future holds for both our artisans and our business.

It can be overwhelming to take in all this information and to grasp such conditions others face that we may not fully understand here at home but knowledge is power and there is greater power in using that knowledge to do good. Our mission to do good will keep driving us. We hope you’ll be our passenger for the ride.