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Sydney school becomes the first to embrace fair trade uniforms

Students wear their Fairtrade polo shirts outside Hazelbrook Public School. Photo: Blue Mountains Gazette The new Hazelbrook Public School polo shirt, which is made from cotton and recycled polyester. Photo: Change Threads/Facebook
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A worker picks cotton in the village of Sunna in India’s Maharashtra state. Photo: Uriel Sinai

A primary school in the Blue Mountains has become the first in the country to have its students wear fair trade uniforms.

In the first few weeks of the school year, students at Hazelbrook Public School have worn school polo shirts made out of polyester recycled from plastic bottles and ethically sourced cotton.

The shirts are ordered through Change Threads, a clothing supplier in Katoomba, then made at a factory in India and sent back to Australia.

To be Fairtrade certified, the shirts meet standards including being environmentally sustainable, paying producers a fair price, and offering long-term contracts to give stability to producers and their families.

As well as meeting international standards, the students have also given the shirts a tick of approval.

The partnership between Hazelbrook and Change Threads came when a parent mentioned what they were doing to Cheryl Griswold, who runs the school’s uniform shop.

Hazelbrook’s choice to support ethical production comes after retailers Target and Kmart were criticised for selling school polo shirts for $2 in the lead-up to the school year.

Such shirts are produced in Bangladeshi factories where wages can be as low as $97 a month

Anna Dohnt, from Warrimoo in western Sydney, founded Change Threads to “empower people who are poor and marginalised”. She has travelled to India to make sure every worker involved in producing her textiles – from the farmers who grow the cotton, to the spinners, weavers, dyers, even button-makers – is treated and paid fairly.

Partnering with a school made sense, as she didn’t like taking her four daughters to school in uniforms “made by a child living in misery”.

“We need to make our children understand ethical supply chains and what better way to do that than with a uniform,” Ms Dohnt said.

Hazelbrook was the first school to get in touch ahead of the new school year, with the uniform shop ordering the minimum of 300 shirts and paying half up front with the help of the P&C committee.

I am so excited!!! Our first School in Australia to have Fairtrade cotton and recycled polyester uniforms is close to…Posted by Change Threads on  Thursday, 21 January 2016The OptimistThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名购买.

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