“The White and Green Story is essentially a family story: of Irish women with incredibly interesting experiences and shared values. As we’ve learned in other stories like this one, what might seem initially expensive is in fact a sustainability investment bringing organic beauty and purity into our lives, and in this case giving us a connection to the ethics of Fairtrade. Read on for the story of this family of Irish women, written by Rose Mason”.—Susan
Mother Sari and her daughters Rebecca and Danielle brought their expertise together and formed White & Green. With a background in interiors, Sari always felt frustration with the low quality of bed linen. It didn’t make sense that consumers could pay high prices and be left with products that shrink, retain stains or pill after just a few washes.
There seemed to be a lack of transparency in the production practices of large homewares companies too. With large brands, often the emphasis is placed on profits and growth and money can be diverted to many different channels while the producer receives a very small cut. In the production of mainstream bed linen, at both the cheap and more expensive ends of the spectrum, quality and ethical practices are left behind. You pay a lot for bedding, but most of the time that cost doesn’t translate to quality.
“A lot of bed linen in very high end retail stores has come through several different channels. You’ve got agents, wholesalers, distributors, retail stores, designer licencing fees. And that’s what’s giving great cost where actually the bed linen is costing very little in the beginning” – Sari
As with all textile products, the production process has a human and environmental impact. Too frequently this impact is a negative one. In founding White & Green, Sari and her daughters wanted to prioritise sustainability and ensure that the bedding and other products they made were ethically made. This means workers getting paid a fair wage and experiencing good working conditions, and minimising environmental impact too.
Quality and sustainability were key parts of the plan for White & Green to make the best bed linen in the world.
Their products are all certified organic and Fairtrade. Organic means there is never any chemical dye or pesticides in the production of cotton. Chemicals are an issue in production because of their toxic components, which after repeated exposure can cause health problems for farmers. Devastatingly, at least 1 million farm workers are hospitalised every year due to pesticide poisoning. Removing the chemical pesticides, fertilisers and dyes means the negative environmental impact of farming and production is significantly reduced.
The textile industry is renowned for huge retail markups, so Fairtrade focuses on the fair distribution of money across the supply chain, not giving just a tiny percentage to producers which is what many bigger brands do. It also means adhering to trade standards: no child labour, no gender discrimination and a minimum wage plus a premium on top of that to support producers’ own businesses or livelihood.
“The White & Green family ensure there is never any child labour in their supply chain, that all staff are subject to safe working conditions, and that they are paid fair wages for fair work. In fact, their workers receive pensions, medical insurance for their entire family, rent allowance and sponsored meals.”
Textile and cotton are industries known for their human rights abuses, so White & Green had to ensure they stayed out of this dangerous cycle of poverty. Through mindful cooperation with the cotton farmers in India, they are trying to revolutionise and provide a model for genuine change. Examples of ethical production like these provide hope that the textile industry can in fact contribute towards development and sustain the production of cotton for generations to enjoy.
The simplistic and classic products at White & Green look fantastic too! The company has expanded to scarfs, bathrobes, towels, throws and even silk eye masks for sleeping. They’ve thought of everything to make you feel clean and cosy and make your house a home.
I often encourage people who are looking at adopting more sustainable practices to shop secondhand. This is particularly applicable with fashion, because you might wish to vary the items you wear every day. Bedsheets, however, are something we sleep in every night for many years. A sustainable approach here would be to invest in quality, to make sure your linen lasts.
As consumers it is our environmental responsibility to be conscious of what we buy. Always spend some time researching the company you plan to buy from to make sure they have the right priorities in mind. Shopping small supports an independent company who truly care about their range of products. White & Green have thought of the important things, quality and sustainability, and have cut out all the middlemen costs in order to pay the producer more.
There really is no better feeling than buying a quality product from a brand you can trust, that will last and be loved for years. Go to the White and Green Home website to be part of the story [click here].
Sari | Co-Founder
Sari first studied interior design in the Inchibald School of Design in London. Sari then set-up her own interiors-related consultancy with high-profile clients across Ireland and Europe. Sari’s specialty in luxury beds and bedrooms led her to discover the lack of organic and high quality sheets at an affordable price. This has served as a major inspiration for the creation of White & Green. She ensures we sell only the finest products with no compromise on quality.
Rebecca | Co-Founder
As a singer, Rebecca has performed on the world’s most celebrated stages with groups including Celtic Woman, Celtic Nights and Anúna (original Riverdance Singers). Rebecca’s travelling led her to question global inequality and how patterns of trade benefit some people over others. She completed a Master’s in International Development at the London School of Economics and is now our development, labour rights and Fairtrade expert at White & Green.
Danielle | Co-Founder
As an international model with agencies such as Ford, Storm and Morgan, Danielle has walked for the most prestigious catwalks from New York to LA, Paris to London. Gracing the covers of global super brands such as Swarovski, L’Oreal, Asos and DKNY, she gained a huge insight into the fashion and design industry. Now she is taking this experience and passion into all things White & Green.
Rose Mason is a writer on a whole host of topics, from sustainability, to politics, to chatting about her daydreams. She studied BA Culture and Media Studies in Leeds and now lives in London and is committed to spreading a positive message though her work: “At its core, sustainability is the ethos of maintaining and sharing what we currently enjoy.“
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