*This feature is not sponsored or paid for in any way by Bhumi or any other invested party
Luxury and sustainability are not usually found side by side. Many items we consider luxurious come at costs like unfair labour, ocean waste, or a massive carbon footprint, among others. However, some brands are trying to change this. Take Australian company Bhumi, for example, which sells all things organic cotton - sheets, towels, sleepwear, basics, and underwear. They believe that everything you bring into your home is a choice that can have a positive impact on our fellow humans and the larger world around us, and as a consequence of that belief, they strive to do business in a way that aligns with those values.
Bhumi, which means “Mother Earth” in Sanskrit, is “committed to providing ethical alternatives for sustainable luxurious living.” In a nutshell, Bhumi offers products that give conscious consumers the option to not have to choose between a little bit of luxury in their homes and being kind to the earth and its inhabitants, encouraging everyone to purchase more thoughtfully.
To learn how they do this, we reached out to a brand representative to find out more. So, let’s get into how Bhumi ensures its products are not just luxurious but also good for Mother Earth.
Bhumi is a family-owned business and, according to their representative, they fully intend to always keep it that way. It is registered under parent company Bhumi Pty Ltd ABN: 56626606308
The idea for Bhumi started when Vinita, who was then working in a public health role in some of the poorest regions of the world, took a trip to India and Bangladesh. There, she saw the “disastrous health and environmental impacts of traditional cotton growing with child labour, pesticide poisoning, birth defects, harmful dyes and toxic waterways.” She visited a traditional cotton farming region of India known as the “Suicide Belt” because of the high rates of suicide among farmers who want to escape their desperate situations. The idea to support organic farming practices and practice fair trade and labour was then born. Vinita spent three years learning about the industry and establishing partnerships, and in 2015, Bhumi was born.
INGREDIENTS & RAW MATERIALS
Bhumi products are made of Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic cotton. Their products are also dyed using water-based GOTS approved dyes which contain no AZO dyes, toxic chlorine bleach, heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, and colour fasteners. This means no hazardous elements such as nickel, lead, amines, pesticides, and heavy metals.
They have strict measures in place to make sure that along their entire supply chain, there are no GM seeds, no harmful chemicals, insecticides, pesticides, toxic dyes, clenches, or finishes.
SOURCING & PRODUCTION
Bhumi only uses and will only ever use GOTS certified organically grown cotton. The farmers who grow the cotton used in Bhumi products only use environmentally sustainable systems that “maintain and replenish the fertile soil, promote biodiversity, and natural pest control.” They also use natural fertilizers like animal manure and compost. Farming cotton this way means they reduce greenhouse emissions by 52% that of conventional cotton and they only use about 10% of the blue water that is used to farm conventional cotton.
For the required quality, volume, and scale that Bhumi requires, India was the best option for sourcing organic cotton as the country is “among the largest organic cotton producers in the world.” India also “has one of the longest and respected textile traditions in the world”, which gives Bhumi access to some of the world’s “highest quality production facilities that comply with GOTS and Soil Association requirements.”
All of Bhumi’s products are ethically made in Fair Trade factories which are also in India, thus reducing transport emissions. These factories also run on solar and wind power, and the water used in production is all collected from monsoon rainfall. Bhumi also prides itself on being able to ensure that no child labour is used in the production of their products, they pay fair wages, and provide safe working conditions. In fact, the Fair Trade model they use to operate enables co-operatives to fund community projects such as building schools, health clinics, and clean water wells, as well as provide training in business and agriculture. Aside from all employees receiving fair wages, they also receive social security, pension funds, house rent, paid holiday leave, paid sick leave, medical insurance, lunches, overtime pay, free transport to the factory, and free schooling for their children. In an industry rife with child labour, unfair wages, and unsafe working conditions, this is a very welcome breath of fresh air.
As an added bonus, all of these practices have translated to 786,726 kms of driving emissions avoided, 8,810,627 days of drinking water saved, and 371,674 sqm of land farmed without pesticides to date.
PACKAGING & RECYCLING OPTIONS
Bhumi sends their products to customers with zero plastic wrapping in recycled cardboard boxes. They also encourage customers to reuse said boxes or cut them down and place them in recycling bins.
According to their representative, Bhumi is actively “trying to put in practice environmentally conscious ways and that minimalist simple packaging is a key part of our commitment to the environment.”
They don't have a recycling program at the moment but they are looking into one which will entail recycling and repurposing their products at the end of life. However, there are some challenges in this area given the nature of the products they offer.
GIVING BACK & ADVOCACY
Bhumi is a proud and passionate supporter and advocate of the Fair Trade movement. All their products are ethically sourced and made, and they strive to go above and beyond in making sure their workforce is treated with respect and dignity.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSIVITY
Bhumi’s Australian workforce is 75% women. Their factories in India also prioritise employing women and encouraging women to participate in the workforce.
Overall, Bhumi takes great care to have the lowest environmental impact at every step in their supply chain. They also take pride in their deep sense of social justice with their use of a Fair Trade model in their sourcing and production because they believe that the conventional way of doing things is no longer acceptable. So, not only do they make sure their customers get the purest and softest cotton products, they also make sure everything you buy from them, whether it’s basics, underwear, sleepwear, or sheets, is guilt-free - which, in our books, is the ultimate in luxury.
Bhumi is available worldwide through its website.