Good Shirts Doing Good? The Four Corners of Skreened’s Ethical Foundation (Updated 2015)
Update: as of November 2015 Skreened NOW DOES sell shirts outside the United States, for whom compensation CANNOT be confirmed, and backed up only by the corporate front group FLA. WE CAN NO LONGER RECOMMEND SKREENED and WILL NO LONGER SELL WITH THEM. The company’s initial ethical commitments are no longer in force and Skreened is questionable at best as a source of shirts.
Yesterday afternoon, the print-on-demand t-shirt outfit called Skreened renewed its commitment to ethical practice, issuing this statement:
1. Ethically made – inside and out.
We start with only American Made garments. That’s our baseline for treating workers at the beginning of the process with respect. Money is our way to vote our conscience daily and when you buy a Skreened shirt you are voting for the fair treatment of workers.
Skreened prints on American Apparel shirts, which are made in the USA with the protection of American labor laws, regular on-site inspection, and additional benefits beyond the legal minimum. Contrast that with the Pakistan production regime of purportedly ethical Econscious, which pays its workers in Lahore less than it takes to rent a hovel in a fly-infested slum.
2. Ecologically Conscious.
Not only do we offer a great range of organic tees, but everything we print uses our 100% water based inks. Add to that the reduced carbon footprint from not shipping garments half way around the world, and you have yourself a winning formula.
Skreened won’t print with plastisol ink, a form of liquified PolyVinylChloride that contains a variety of carcinogens. They don’t mention this in yesterday’s statement, but another environmental practice of theirs involves the use of biodegradable shipping bags. Just toss ’em in the compost when your shirt arrives.
This is not a big box store, Skreened respects your expression and the process of the people all along the supply chain. The smart people in your life will respect that.
Skreened is one of the littlest-box companies you could imagine. The entire operation of Skreened is contained in a Columbus, Ohio storefront on High Street. When you buy a Skreened shirt, a couple of bucks go to the designer of the shirt’s image and a couple of bucks go to a small business that directly pays a handful of employees, none of them rich by any means. You want to support small business and imaginative small-scale entrepreneurship? Working through Skreened is a great way to accomplish that.
The fourth corner of Skreened’s ethical foundation goes unmentioned in yesterday’s statement, so I’ll bring it to attention myself:
4. Prolific Microloans
Although Skreened only uses t-shirts that are made in the USA, the folks there still think globally. Every month, Skreened takes 10% of its profits and sends them out in the form of Kiva microloans to people of low income who want to start their own small businesses in villages, towns and cities across the world. When Skreened gets its microloans paid back, it reinvests all of its proceeds into new microloans.
These are four reasons to feel comfortable about dealing with Skreened, either as a shirt-wearer or a shirt-designer. We are happy to be working with Skreened, and we are happy to recommend Skreened to you.