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      Impact — Purpose

      Real Talk: Disparity in Green Spaces Part I

      Real Talk: Disparity in Green Spaces Part I

       

      Caring for the planet is caring for people.

      At GOEX Apparel, our purpose is to use a simple tee to connect the customer and the maker because our customers sustain the fair wage jobs that empower our workers in their families and their communities.  So, we often get asked why we also talk so much about sustainability.  If our purpose is people, why focus on the planet?  The answer is simple – caring for the planet is caring for people.  Having a clean, healthy environment provides a variety of benefits primarily around health and wellness.  

      Why does this matter to us specifically?  Many communities, and most of those where we serve here in the US and internationally, have been negatively affected by environmental disproportionality.  This is the reality that communities in urban or rural ‘poverty pockets’ as well as in third world countries face some of the worst environmental devastation in the world.  These communities have fewer trees and green spaces, more industrial pollution and waste and less access to resources. This affects low-income black and brown communities at greater rates than other groups contributing to health issues such as asthma, diabetes, heart conditions and obesity. In the US, this came to the forefront during this pandemic where we saw higher death rates in these communities because of these underlying health conditions.

      And so, GOEX is doing our part to uphold the pillars of Fair Trade including “Cultivate Environmental Stewardship”. For us, this means not only using recycled components or fabrics but also joining in conversations about environmental justice and equity. 

       

      Environmental equity involves fair treatment and coming together as a community

      Environmental equity describes a society in which no single group or community faces disadvantages in dealing with environmental hazards, disasters, or pollution. It involves fair treatment from a region’s authority and meaningful involvement with its constituents. And none of this is easy but we can all do our part. Here are a couple of examples of things we’ve done to reduce our impact on the environment & improve conditions for our employees in Haiti:

       

      1. One of the biggest pollutants around Port au Prince is Styrofoam.  If you’ve ever visited you’ve seen roadsides carpeted in Styrofoam food containers. When we started providing lunches to our employees last spring, we knew we didn’t want to add to the problem. So, we purchased reusable food containers and pay more for each meal so our vendor can wash and reuse the containers. This provides additional work to our food supplier and eliminates daily waste at the factory creating a win-win.
      2. Our factory is not located in an industrial park but instead is in the middle of an undeveloped piece of land and surrounded by trees, grass, wildlife and fresh air. Our employees walk to work through the trees and enjoy fresh air breezing through the building. This isn’t the case for employees in other apparel manufacturing facilities.
      3. We make garments or accessories out of as much scrap fabric as possible to decrease waste going into landfills. (Check out our blog about our rib collection here.)

       

      We exist to make an impact

      Verified Members of the Fair Trade Federation

      As one of the elite few who have passed the Fair Trade Federation’s (FTF) rigorous screening, GOEX is dedicated to following the nine FTF principles established to maintain integrity: create opportunities, develop transparent & accountable relationships, build capacity, promote fair trade, pay promptly and fairly, support safe & empowering working conditions, ensure the rights of children, cultivate environmental stewardship, and respect cultural identity. These principles hold us accountable to serve for all hands that touch our garments. Honestly, it goes beyond accountability. It’s our dogma. We don’t do what we do so you’ll like us and buy shirts from us. We exist to make an impact – to create jobs, to heal the planet, and to do good. 

       

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      Follow the story

      We strive to be bold with our words and represent the ideals we believe. If you like what we stand for, we want to share more! Stay in the loop by signing up to receive our newsletters and following us on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

      GOEX is Better Work Certified

      GOEX is Better Work Certified

      GOEX, the brand that cares for kids, is proud to be a Better Work certified organization. What does that mean? It means that our partner production facility — LIFE S.A.— goes above and beyond the highest labor standards internationally.

       

      The Better Work certification is one of the most difficult certifications to obtain.

       

      “Our vision is a global garment industry that lifts millions of people out of poverty by providing decent work, empowering women, driving business competitiveness and promoting inclusive economic growth.” —Better Work

       

      Meet Olivier.

      A little over a year ago during LIFE S.A.’s annual audit, Olivier Desire, a Better Work auditor, fell in love with GOEX. He now serves full time as our operations manager in Haiti.

       

       

      “When I came here, I really liked the ambiance, but the story really blew my mind. I was amazed by the mission of GOEX and LIFE S.A. What I like most about the GOEX team is really the people, because we’re not just making t-shirts. I feel so proud to be part of the team.”

       

      When you purchase any GOEX product, not only does 100% of the profit go to help care for kids through The Global Orphan Project, but you also create living wage jobs and help keep families together. You can be confident that you are partnering for the welfare of kids and families around the world.

       

      A t-shirt never felt so good.

      Supporting Safe and Empowering Working Conditions

      Supporting Safe and Empowering Working Conditions

      LIFE S.A Factory in Haiti 

      Fair Trade means a lot of things, to a lot of different people. But if we get down to the nitty gritty, it means “better”. Better standards, better treatment, better pay, better conditions, just better. Member’s of the Fair Trade Federation seek to do “better” as they follow principle #6: Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions.

       

      "Fair Trade means a safe and healthy working environment free of forced labor. Throughout the trading chain, Members cultivate workplaces that empower people to participate in the decisions that affect them. Members seek to eliminate discrimination based on race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, age, marital, or health status. Members support workplaces free from physical, sexual, psychological, or verbal harassment or abuse.”

       

      — Fair Trade Federation

       

       

      Fair Trade Federation Sign

      Empowering Workers

      Our first priority is our workers — they are the reason we exist. When major changes are necessary due to adjustments in government labor policies, we update our rules to comply and then meet with employees to educate them on those updates. Our urgent priority is to make sure we have engaged with all questions or concerns. Employees are invited to work on strategizing and implementing key business objects. This requires regular team meetings to get input on specific business needs or decisions, as well as overall strategic direction. Both in Haiti and in Kansas City, all employees are hired and retained based on skill regardless of race, sex, union affiliation, religion or any other factors.

      And Keeping Them Safe

      For our producers at LIFE in Haiti, we regularly participate in audits or reviews of our workplace and policies. This is done through third party companies like BetterWorks Haiti and the Fair Trade Federation. At our printshop in Kansas City, we practice similar disciplines in working with our employees. We update policies annually and review with employees. We pay attention to industry standards and requirements for workplace safety for both warehousing and screenprinting.

       

       

       

      Airplane IconSee for yourself.

      You play a big role in keeping us accountable — so come visit our facilities first hand! We know Haiti isn’t a “drop everything and head down next weekend” kind of destination for everyone, so start planning now. Check out our trips calendar, find a week that works for you, and then say “yes!”. Travel with us to meet the makers of your tees and see their facility conditions in person. We promise to let you have the aisle seat on the plane.

      What’s the story behind our name?

      What’s the story behind our name?

       

       

      We’re often asked about our name, and it’s a story we love to tell. After all, there’s a lot in a name, right?

       

      At GOEX print + apparel, we believe in the power of commerce to create positive social change and improve lives. Commerce, in contrast with charity, always requires an exchange – “giving, or transferring in consideration of something received as an equivalent.” And creating social change means going out in the world to identify need and develop solutions. This is not a passive endeavor, it requires active engagement and a clear understanding of how to help without harming. 

       

      These fundamentals led to the name GO Exchange — “GO” discover the world around you and “Exchange” goods that promote positive social change.

       

      GOEX for short.

       

       

      For those who have been around since the humble beginnings of GOEX, you remember when we were sewing a small collection of apparel, primarily jammie pants, and also selling artisan goods. While this supported seasonal production on a small scale, it wasn’t effectively using commerce to create lasting change. Commerce requires a commodity product and larger scale production. Thus the shift to custom apparel and the related investments in equipment both in Haiti and in Kansas City. We now have the capacity to manufacture and print hundreds of thousands of garments each month, employing hundreds of people in stable jobs. And we can scale efficiently to serve increasingly large or complex accounts. 

       

      So, from now on, when you think of GOEX, we hope you’ll be encouraged to do two things:

       

       

       

      1. GO — Get out and experience things and people. Learn from those who are different from you. Discover how you can support efforts to create positive and sustainable social change. Or travel with us to Haiti to see our Fair Trade apparel facility!
      2. Exchange — Use the power of your purchases for good! Choose products from Fair Trade or ethically conscious companies. Support local jobs, especially those companies compensating their employees well and engaging in the community.

        You make a statement with every purchase you make! What do you want yours to be?

      Cultivating Environmental Stewardship

      Cultivating Environmental Stewardship

       

      The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.

      —Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day

       

      Cultivating Environmental Stewardship

      If we work hard to practice Fair Trade principles, but fail to cultivate environmental stewardship, we have missed the mark. If we work hard to make things better for this generation, but in turn, make things harder for the next generation, we have missed the mark. We must value the producers, empower the workers, defend the rights of children, AND be mindful of the earth while doing it. This is the Fair Trade Federation’s 8th key principle.

       

      Fair Trade Federation members seek to meet their own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This requires active consideration of the environmental impact of every decision the company makes and creative adaptations in business practices that advocate responsible stewardship of resources.

       

      Simply put, members reduce, reuse, reclaim, and recycle materials wherever possible.

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      There are three key ways GOEX implements healthy environmental practices.

       

      1) Responsible Sourcing:

      We incorporate sustainably grown materials into our products by sourcing our fabrics from Carolina Cotton Works in South Carolina — they offer a variety of recycled materials. We use Repreve, a recycled polyester yarn and then spin our tri-blend shirts from US-grown cotton, recycled polyester, and rayon. Every tri-blend shirt contains the equivalent of approximately 6 plastic water bottles!

       

       

      2) Responsible Use:

      A large part of environmental stewardship is the day-to-day operational practices we have established. Our screen printing facility in Kansas City operates from an environmental and sustainable neutral position. We work with local authorities and agencies to ensure that the disposal of all waste/excess is in accordance with our positive environmental policy. We have an electric car charging station at our office and print shop to encourage electric cars. We recently moved into a new industrial building with large windows and low dividing walls to capitalize on the natural light, thus conserving electricity.

       

      The main challenge we face is screen printing effluence. We are currently evaluating a system to capture all of our effluence from printing in tanks and to recirculate them and dispose of them. Attention is given to our suppliers to ensure the types of chemicals included in their products are friendly to the environment.

       

       

      3) Responsible Waste:

      When we can, we take extreme care to avoid waste in the first place, but it’s near impossible to be a Zero Waste print shop. Instead, we focus our attention on how we want to responsibly handle the waste we can’t avoid. We go back to the elementary school basics: reduce, reuse, recycle.

       

      When it makes sense, we gift extra materials from the production facility in Haiti to the community. For other materials, like plastic, paint, cardboard, etc., we diligently recycle! We also reuse screens, boxes and ink containers in an effort to reduce our overall consumption.

       

       

       

      Shop tees made with you in mind.

      We’d love to get you started with a better basic tee today! Choose from our many styles, colors, and fits to make the perfect garment for your next group event — something you can feel proud to wear. Browse our Digital Catalog today!