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Pants to Poverty

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Category: Overseas development

Mission: Help Indian cotton farmers

Ben Ramsden is the pin-up boy of social enterprise. He left the corporate world in 2001 to live with the Patamona and Makushi tribes on the borders of Brazil and Venezuela, worked for Amnesty International and, in 2005, responded to Nelson Mandela’s plea to “make poverty history”  at the Live8 concert by founding Pants to Poverty.

This ethical underwear brand champions environmentally friendly clothing production by supporting Indian cotton farmers. Today, Pants to Poverty buys organic cotton from 5,000 Indian farmers and has sold more than 110,000 pairs of pants. The entire supply chain from “grain to groin” follows strict environmental and ethical principles.

Ramsden is now a household name in the social enterprise scene, and is delighted at what he has been able to achieve. He boasts: “Pants to Poverty has forced high-street majors to rethink the way they do business. We are proving that our social model is a better way of doing business. It’s like old and new media. Social businesses are like new media. We are making old media – the high-street fashion chains – obsolete, because our business model is superior.” Enough said.

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