EJF Pop-up Bee Shop Features Buzzing Designs by Ethical Fashion Brand Rapanui

The Bee Tees!

The Bee Tees!

Bees have (quite rightly) garnered a lot of attention of late. Last year I joined Friends of the Earth for one of their Bee Walks, part of the Bee Cause campaign and I was surprised by the extent to which we rely on bees. They pollinate our food, keep our farms in business and help our gardens, parks and countryside thrive. You just need to check out this staggering list of crops pollinated by bees. Not just fruit and veg but everything from brazil nuts to cocoa. Disease and loss of habitat has seen British bee numbers fall dramatically in recent years, forcing a number of organisations and individuals to take action.

Most recently the Environmental Justice Foundation has opened a bee-themed pop up shop in celebration of EJF’s new Woodlands Project. Together with Pesticide Action Network UK, EJF started the Save the Bees campaign, aiming to:

1. Encourage the government to adopt a Pollinator Action Plan to protect pollinators (bees!).
2. End the use of neonicotionoids in industry (a deadly pesticide which harms bees and other creatures and was successfully banned in March this year).
3. Raise public awareness of the value of pollinators to the UK economy and promote public action.

The shop ‘JUST… BIG TREES little bees‘, is open now at G3 Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, London W1B 5PW until mid-September. Bee t-shirts have been designed by ethical clothing brand Rapanui (see above) and the shop also stocks other ranges of designer t-shirts in support of EJF’s other ongoing campaigns, including the classic ‘Save the Future’ design by Katharine Hamnett. You can pop into the shop or buy online. For each 100% organic cotton bee tee sold £5 is donated to EJF.

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H&M Ban Harmful Perflourinated Compounds (PFCs)

H&M have announced that from the 1st of January 2013 they will ban Perfluorinated Compounds from any products that they sell (PFCs).

PFCs are used to achieve the water repellent finish mainly found on outer wear garments, but also on shower curtains, tents, etc. PFCs are harmful for the environment, for reproduction and for aquatic organisms. Worryingly:

‘PFCs can be detected almost ubiquitously, e.g., in water, plants, different kinds of foodstuffs, in animals such as fish, birds, in mammals, as well as in human breast milk and blood. PFCs are proposed as a new class of ‘persistent organic pollutants’. Numerous publications allude to the negative effects of PFCs on human health’ (Stahl, T. 2011).

It is all too easy to forget that the textile industry is a major environmental polluter globally. For example during the dyeing process an average t-shirt will use 16-20 litres of water and whilst 80% of the dye is retained by the fabric, the rest is washed out.

H&M teamed up with other fashion and sport brands in 2011 to help lead the industry to zero discharge of hazardous chemicals. As a brand, they have since worked on restricting and phasing out perfluorinated substances. H&M is also a part of AFIRM, an international working team of leading companies within the textile and footwear industries, educating the suppliers to achieve good chemical management. The group’s common aim is to reduce the use and impact of harmful substances in the apparel and footwear supply chain.

Read their most recent sustainability report at: www.hm.com/consciousactions2011

Scientists amongst you might want to read this article from the Environmental Sciences Europe Open Access journal. Stahl, T. et al. ‘Toxicology of Perfluorinated Compounds’, 2011, 23:38

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