Pants to Poverty with Ben Ramsden
Fairtrade is building new business models for international trade that respond to the urgent needs of our global society. Learn how simple purchase choices by consumers help shape the global economy for a better world.
About Ben Ramsden and Pants to Poverty
Ben Ramsden launched underwear brand, Pants to Poverty in 2005 off the back of the ‘Make Poverty History’ Youth Movement, which sold 11 thousand pairs of pants in just 5 months. Ben played an integral role within this campaign. He was also the international mobilization coordinator for Amnesty International, directing 24 national offices across South America, Africa, South East Asia and Europe, where he organized the development of the movement in terms of people, money, diversity and activism. He also managed both Amnesty Zimbabwe and Amnesty South Africa, developing new strategies, introducing funding and recruiting staff.
Prior to his campaigning work, Ben spent 3 years travelling and working in the developing world, where he saw firsthand, the terrible injustices and inequalities that occur in the world today. He started his journey in Guyana, living deep in its jungles for 8 months, as the first lay person to ever live with the Indigenous Patamona Amerindians. Following this, he worked with the rural community of the ‘Untouchables’, in ‘Deenabandu Puram’, Southern India.
It was these placements that finally drove Ben to embark on his mission and set straight the hierarchical and discriminating systems that keep billions of people trapped, in the prison of poverty all over the world.
Ben soon realized the valuable and significant role that the fashion and cotton industry can have in linking the world’s richest people to its very poorest, and how it can be used to transform the relationship between the two. Making fair trade and ethical consumerism a reality is now the central goal of his life’s work, driving him to begin Pants to Poverty and now collaborate with Zameen organic and Alok Cotton.
Today, Pants to Poverty is one of the leading ethical and sustainable fashion pioneers, who have introduced socially responsible supply chains with fair wages and extensive training programmes that aim to empower women. The brand has also worked to reduce the amount of pesticides used in production, helped establish a new programme working directly with tribal farmers in India and contributed to the AIDS Treatment action campaign in South Africa (TAC). In addition, the new range, a collaboration with designer Zakee Shariff, uses profits to establish a child-free labour programme.