We are proud to have pledged that all of our t-shirts will be 100% organic by 2022. In practice, this means a commitment to organic SolidariTees in years to come, so that our entire range shifts to being fully organic.
Our t-shirts in 2021 were made in India by Earth Positive with the printing done in London by Fifth Column. See below for further details about all aspects of our production process.
Our t-shirts are 100% GOTS-certified and Organic Content Standard-certified organic cotton. This is grown from non-GM (genetically modified) seeds and without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilisers. Organic cotton uses 91% less water than other cotton and has 46% less impact on global warming. GOTS-certified cotton is traceable from the field to the final customer. They are also OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, and PETA-approved vegan, meaning they do not conduct or commission any testing on animals or contain any animal-derived components.
Our organic tee suppliers are members of the Fair Wear Foundation. This means that the factories our T-shirts are made in are regularly audited to ensure fair working conditions for those in the factories. Membership of the Fair Wear Foundation commits manufacturers to eight labour standards based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organisation - these include a living wage, freely chosen employment, and a safe and healthy working environment.
You can read more about this year's supplier here.
Since 2020 we have been collaborating with Fifth Column for our screen printing. In addition to sourcing sustainable products for printing on, such as those from Stanley/Stella and Earth Positive, they pay all their employees the London Living Wage and keep all staff members on permanent contracts. Their production is paperless, and all their inks are vegan and 100% phthalate-free. We use water-based inks for our printing, which are much more environmentally-friendly than the alternative (plastisol). These inks contain no toxic chemicals and are water-soluble so do not require specialised clean-up services.
Tees at the end of their life
We hope you get lots of great wear for many years out of your tee. When the time comes that you do decide you no longer want it, we ask that you take some time to research the most sustainable way of passing it on. If it’s still in good condition, consider donating it to your local charity shop, and if not, have a look into where textiles can be recycled near you. If you are UK-based, there is a finder for recycling points here.
Our Previous Tees
All the T-shirts available on our online shop are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, meaning they are laboratory-tested and confirmed to have zero-low levels of harmful substances so are safe for humans. They are also all WRAP certified, ensuring they have been manufactured ethically with legal compliance, at least minimum wage, safe working conditions, and no forced or child labour.
We believe it is important to embody our values at every level of our operation, from social media and how we treat our volunteers to the manufacturing process for our products. This page provides an overview of how we are putting these values into practice at varying levels of our organisation.
We are committed to continually improving our sustainability at SolidariTee. From 2020 onwards, all the t-shirts we manufacture will be made from organic cotton, as this uses significantly less water and is much better for the environment. We will continue to sell our non-organic T-shirts that have already been manufactured to reduce waste.
It's important to us that all of our volunteers enjoy, and gain from, their time with SolidariTee. We actively seek to provide opportunities to expand our collective knowledge as a team, develop skills, build confidence, make friends and develop a sense of community.
We also want to model activism and charitable work which protects and prioritises mental health and wellbeing, for all of our volunteers. People who burn out or don't develop strategies for coping with emotionally draining situations can be put off working in the sector in the future, and ultimately do less good in their lifetimes than they would have with positive strategies in place.
SolidariTee is entirely student-led and we have no paid staff. This means everyone fits SolidariTee work around their full-time lives as students, friends, society members, relatives, and so on. The 'refugee crisis' can be overwhelming, even for those who are lucky enough not to directly experience it. This means preventing burnout and activism fatigue needs to be taken seriously - while it’s important for awareness to be raised about the conditions refugees face, it’s also important for our volunteers to take time to care for themselves.
We have a dedicated welfare team who are available to talk any issues through, address problems volunteers may have with the internal structure of SolidariTee, or just have a chat. We also have dedicated officers to represent frequently maginalised groups within our organisation, including a women and non-binary officer, diversity officer, LGBTQ+ officer, mental health and disabilities officer. These positions are designed both to provide support to volunteers who identify with the relevant group, and ensure that SolidariTee is as inclusive and welcoming a space as possible. Additionally, we run a range of workshops throughout the year which cover mental health strategies, professional skill-building sessions, and team activities which provide opportunities to connect with like-minded students across the globe.
Each of our reps is also able to organise their own event or initiative, as an individual or in a small group with other reps. This year, rep initiatives have ranged from panel discussions and sponsored cycles through to volunteers making and selling their own cookbooks and writing articles for student press. Whatever each person chooses, these initiatives seek to offer flexibility and creativity to our teammates, keeping our mission to stand up for refugee rights front and centre whilst enabling the next generation of activists to build their skills and confidence in a collaborative, supportive environment.
Our Policy on Images of Refugees
SolidariTee generally avoids using refugees’ faces on our website, social media, or any other content. This is a choice which we felt was right for us, for a few main reasons, though we recognise that there is no one 'right way' to operate in this sector:
We believe there are moral issues with using refugees’ photos for a campaign when the individual being shown may not directly benefit from the funds raised as a result, and may not have given free and informed consent for the photo to be used. This is especially true given the imbalance of power dynamics which are all too commonly observed in settings where those without lived experience of seeking asylum are providing aid to refugees and asylum seekers.
We want to avoid playing into tropes which create false distinctions between ‘good' and ‘bad' refugees, and cement the idea of certain individuals being more vulnerable and worthy of sympathy and rights than others. We believe images of refugees often perpetuate these stereotypes, and lead to inaccurate notions of what a 'typical refugee' looks like. The concept of a refugee is, after all, a legal status just like citizenship is, and refugees are of all genders, ethnicities, religions, ages and sexualities, something not often conveyed through photos designed to garner support or donations.
We do not want to create a narrative of SolidariTee ‘saving’ refugees. We believe all those seeking asylum deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and believe that maintaining confidentiality regarding their identities and not representing them as victims is the best way to do this.
We want to show that supporting refugees, fundraising, and charity more generally can take place without the exploitation of affected individuals. We believe this policy is crucial in enabling us, and our supporters, to uphold our values of fighting for change in the 'refugee crisis' because we recognise that the current situation is unjust and unacceptable, rather than as a response to potentially traumatic images of human suffering. We believe images of tragedy and pain are not necessary for people to take action about causes they believe in.
Our Anti-Racism Statement
SolidariTee stands with marginalised communities worldwide. We condemn the police brutality and oppression which Black communities face in the US, UK, and across the globe. We promise as a movement to listen, to question ourselves, and to call out white supremacy in all its forms, and will remember those who have lost their lives to police brutality and oppression in any form.
SolidariTee further condemns the trauma pornography which surrounds the media depiction of marginalised communities and the oppression they are subject to. We will continue to respect and uphold the dignity of all individuals by refraining from circulating distressing or demeaning content.
SolidariTee recognises that, in our own sphere of work, police brutality against refugees and asylum-seekers exists as part of a much larger problem that takes many forms internationally. We promise to continue to educate ourselves, and to amplify the voices of those who have lived experience and local expertise. Social media is a powerful activist tool, but we recognise it is far from being enough.
Our Supporter Promise
At SolidariTee we know you expect the best from us. We promise to:
Always keep our administrative costs to a minimum so as much of your donation as possible goes directly to providing sustainable aid in the refugee crisis.
Always be available to listen to and answer any queries you may have about our work.
Always keep your information in accordance with GDPR and never pass on your details to any third parties.
Always strive to keep standing up for refugee rights worldwide, funding the most impactful, sustainable forms of refugee aid we can.
Our Policies and Our Fundraising
We know that responsible fundraising practices are important - we are registered with the Fundraising Regulator to ensure that we keep up-to-date with and implement best practice when it comes to fundraising.
You can find out more about the Fundraising Regulator and the work they do here.
If you would like to read our policies, you can access them here.