With soy, there are issues with genetic engineering, chemicals, and pesticides. Tencil is made from fresh wood pulp (not recycled wood) so trees have to be cut down.
With bamboo, there are issues with chemical processing to get to soft fiber. On top of that, it seems that the fibers many manufacturers are referring to as "bamboo" are in fact rayon. News: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US and the Competition Bureau in Canada have begun to file charges against manufacturers of bamboo fiber products for making false claims. "The US FTC this week charged four sellers of clothing and other textile products with deceptively labeling and advertising these items as made of bamboo fiber, when they are made of rayon." And in Canada: "Identification of man-made fibres must conform to a list of generic fibres. Under the Textile Labeling Act and Regulations "bamboo" is not listed as a generic fibre name, and as a result it is not legal to identify the fibre content on a label as "bamboo". Because of the processing involved, "rayon" must be used."
We don't work with recycled plastic fleece or other synthetic fibers because of their high potential for toxicity, outgassing, and allergic reactions. Fortunately, we don't need any of these fibers. With organic cotton, linen, and hemp, we can make most clothing and home products that anyone could possibly need.
It has been legal for a few years now to grow hemp in Canada. At this time, hemp grown in Canada is mainly used for food (the plants are bred to yield good quality hemp seeds, which have an ideal ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6, but not long-staple baste fibers for weaving). We have lost the technology through years of prohibition to convert hemp fiber to usable fabrics for clothing in Canada. That's why European hemp is currently the purest source of hemp fiber for clothing, bedding, and bath. Hemp is still prohibited from being grown in the US (although that may be changing soon). It is legal to buy hemp products in the US and the rest of the world, but only a few countries allow cultivation of the hemp plant.
Of course, hemp fiber is closely associated with marijuana because it came from the same original cannabis plant, with the difference that THC content was bred out of hemp fiber and the cannabis grown for fiber has been bred to yield longer stalks for weaving.
More interesting info from Wikipedia:
For us, sweatshop-free means fair labor conditions and respect for human rights. We ensure that the facilities we use for our production adhere to the highest fair labor standards. Most are either unionized, or set up as worker-owned cooperatives. We also have sew-at-home arrangements with artisans of many years' experience — this allows talented sewers, many of whom are elderly and single-parent mothers, to work at home and still earn a fair income.
Our products are made in USA, Canada, the EU, and Thailand. (It's true that having products made in these countries does not guarantee sweatshop-free conditions: even though human rights violations are illegal, sweatshops still exist, unfortunately.) We are a small manufacturer so are sweatshop-free almost by definition (sweatshops usually churn out big volumes for big manufacturers). More importantly, we are fully committed to making sustainable products that respect both human rights and the environment. Once in a while, a customer would ask us why our products aren't as "cheap" as some products made elsewhere: some reasons are high-quality organic materials and quality sewing cost more, and paying sewers a fair salary will result in a higher price than if sewers are paid a few cents an hour, as is the practice in many "sweatshop" factories.
We are involved in the production process from beginning to end to be sure of procuring the right fabric weave & weight and the right fit & finish for our unique products. First, we obtain organic raw materials of the highest quality possible (it's very rare that we use organic stock fabrics, preferring instead to custom-make fabrics for each job to truly realize our designer's vision; most of our fabrics are actually unique to us and aren't available in the marketplace). Then we contract top knitters and weavers to turn our organic fibers into the perfect fabric for the job. Once the fabric is made to our specifications, we contract sew-at-home artisans or sweatshop-free sewing facilities to work on the production. Lastly, our products are ecologically finished, then packaged, and sent to our warehouse for distribution. We also carry a small number of products made by respectable organic outfits that are as committed to sweatshop-free practices as we are.
Hemp is a renewable, sustainable plant that's very versatile. It's fiber for clothing and home products, nutritious food for good health, pulp for paper, cellulose for energy, oil for paint, fiber for insulation and industrial applications, and so much more. Hemp has the potential to end our reliance on fossil fuels once and for all. Hemp clothing keeps you cool in summer and warm in winter. Hemp grows quickly and enriches the soil as it grows. Hemp doesn't need fertilizers or much water to grow. Read more.