Patagonia is proud to announce its plans to offer Fair Trade Certified apparel starting with nine styles in the Fall 2014 season.
For every Fair Trade Certified product Patagonia sells, the company will pay a premium directly into a special workers’ fund, said the company. The workers will decide collectively how to spend this fund, based on what they deem to be their community’s greatest needs: from scholarships and disaster relief funds, to medical care and transportation. Workers can also vote to take the Fair Trade premium dollars as a cash bonus, which can be equivalent to an entire month’s salary or more.
“Patagonia’s ground breaking commitment to Fair Trade apparel marks a significant turning point for the apparel industry as a whole,” said Paul Rice, President & CEO of Fair Trade USA. “They’re showing the world that style and ethics don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and that transparency, sustainability and good businesses go hand in hand.”
Patagonia’s Fair Trade Certified products will be made in factories monitored and certified by Fair Trade USA under their strict social and environmental standards. Consumers will have independently verified and transparent assurance that the Fair Trade Certified products they buy are made under safe working conditions, where workers have a voice and earn a fair wage.
Fair Trade is a market-based approach to poverty alleviation and sustainable development which offers incentives to factories for complying with strict social, economic and environmental criteria. Most widely known as a certification for coffee or chocolate, Fair Trade USA has spent the past three years developing an apparel standard certification program for the entire manufacturing industry.