Besides being very boho in our fashion sense, we also, like any real bohemian, take a stand for something important, and for us that revolves around the ethical product values of environmental respect and fair treatment of the workers who provide goods and services around the world. To help people make mindful decisions about the products that we offer, we provide what we call Ethics Tags to each product's description. These are designed to give an easy reference for the main ethical value that the products represent.
These tags are listed below, along with our best description as they apply to our products.
Australian Made and Owned kind of speaks for itself, but the importance of buying local can't be overemphasized. Camping stores around the country are filled with mass produced products made in non-transparent countries, by companies with non-transparent trade practices. Keeping our money inside our own economy helps to build our wealth and, longer term, reduces the cost of buying local! Also, fair work practices are enshrined in law here so there is nobody being exploited, and further, the companies that we deal with have a special and transparent interest in environmental protection.
Fair trade is both a strong social movement and a market-based approach to alleviate global poverty through ensuring fair working environments and financial relationships for workers all along product supply chains. Further, it acts to promote the sustainability of social and environmental standards. As it relates to our products, these are generally evolved fair trade arrangements to what is called 'direct trade', where the fair trade ethos has been adopted and agreed to by very close personal relationships between the importer and the producer, cutting out both the middlemen and the prohibitively expensive official Fair Trade Certifications. This is an even more empowering arrangement.
Fundamentally this relates to production environments, of either virgin material or recycled, where biodiversity is maintained, along with the ability to sustainably regenerate and do so without causing harm to the ecosystem. Further, the workers are required to be treated equitably with safe work environments. Many of our products have this tag due to both of these commitments as well as a business model that actively cleans the environment, such as through waste plastic container collection.
Family Owned Businesses are an extremely important and self regulating organisation in the business world due to a strong focus on long-term, even multi-generational success, which comes through as a commitment to quality products and high trust and customer service. This is also shown to provide greater care to employees, and flowing to local communities and the general environment. Many of our producers with this tag help to form the stable core of business in their communities, especially important in economic downturns, as well as helping to keep traditional skills and customs alive.
Gender equality is not only a basic human right, it's a necessary step in the achievement of a peaceful and economically successful world. Companies that encourage this provide non-segregated work environments, and equal pay for equal work regardless of gender. Many of the suppliers of our products not only ensure this standard, but are actually owned and run by women. The opportunities, whether politically, educationally or socio-economically of this kind of hierarchy are enormous and of paramount importance. Simply put, empowering women proves time and again to be fuel to economies and growth, while also fueling greater acknowledgement and addressing of other social inequities and environmental crises.
Handmade skills support traditional skills, keeping culture alive. Each piece has a story, as it's not mass produced and has unique qualities making no piece the same. It's also green - fewer people in the supply chain and real concern over how the product affects the environment as the products are normally locally derived. When buying hand crafted products, it directly supports the actual person who made it! It also supports their community and their local economy, which directly changes lives. It also has the added benefit of allowing us to see how our purchases affect others - both in redistributing wealth and in discouraging unethical trade and environmental practices.
When products are sustainably made, the production process focuses on a range of controls. Firstly, the product doesn't deplete natural resources, in other words, is made from a renewable resource. Secondly, the company absolutely minimises any negative externality or completely removes harm to the environment in all areas of the production and supply lifecycle. Further, production is made in a socially responsible way, engaging in fair trade practices, both within the business and between businesses. Typically these companies are very transparent, which makes us like them!
Natural fibres are sustainable materials that are common in nature and are therefore easily captured with little to no negative environmental or ethical externalities. These form an essential alternative to synthetic products that are basically the opposite! Sustainably and responsibly sourced plant based materials cotton, bamboo, hemp and jute, and animal based wool and alpaca are common in our range of products, as they are low-cost, lightweight and biodegradable, and with clothing, have qualities such as being comfortable against the skin, or possessing excellent body heat regulation.
Although everything will eventually breakdown and return to the earth, most non-natural products will take hundreds or thousands, or hundreds OF thousands of years. For a product to be considered biodegradable, it should decompose typically within six to nine months, and certainly within one year. Our products with this tag are typically made from natural, sustainable material, for example sugarcane or cornstarch. A little note here, biodegradability relies on the presence of bacteria and oxygen, so at the end of a product's life, it shouldn't be sent to landfill to be buried, as this reduces or eliminates the available oxygen. It's better to put it in the recycling bin.
Compostable products differ to biodegradable products at the end of their lifecycle in that they need to be put into a compost environment, that is one filled with microorganisms and high internal heatability. They will typically decompose within three months into nutrient rich soil matter, which is great for the planet. A note here also is that compostable items shouldn't be put into the recycling bin, as they actually contaminate the recycleables. And for the same reason as biodegradable products, their decomposability will be adversely affected in the general landfill.
Our Eco friendly tag terminology is a catch all for an environmentally focused product, which has been produced sustainably, conserving water or energy, and with human safety in mind. Products that contain nasty chemicals or have unseen environmental effects in their production can't make this claim. Neither can products that don't consider packaging and supply chain externalities. The best way to practise this is to employ the 3 R's - reduce, reuse and recycle, throughout the purchase decisions, the subsequent use and finally at the end of the lifecycle. Eco friendly is basically a lifestyle that we can all adopt this way.
Plastic is a potentially catastrophic problem. It pollutes at every point in its lifecycle - from initial oil extraction to product disposal, with most of the consequences not able to be seen until many years later - for example, microplastics are now scattered through the oceans and perhaps through our bodies. Prevention is much better than a cure for this problem, as can easily be seen in ever bigger problems created by exporting of plastic waste to countries without the infrastructure or laws to properly deal with it. Thankfully, there is a lot of research and work going into recycling, and some of our suppliers have a strong focus on this aspect, with amazing materials being produced, definitely helping to remove waste from the system. However, prevention of more being produced should be everyone's goal.
This tag is our own little way of saying that the product is more suited to a camping or travel environment than other versions of a similar product elsewhere due to one or many of the following - its portability, ease of use, quickness and ease of set up and break down, ease of cleaning, camping and outdoor toughness, power-efficiency, versatility and ability to do more than one job. Coming from a nomadic bohemian lifestyle ourselves, we like to think that travelling mindfully, simply and light, wherever possible, is a great way to go. Plus, with your unique bohemian styling, your road tripping can be both practical and magically fun and beautiful.