To compete in today’s global market, many businesses devalue safe working conditions, curtail environmental standards, and drive down prices–all at the expense of the most vulnerable and most valuable: the factory workers, farmers, and fishermen. That’s why we’re proud to partner with Fair Trade USA, whose Fair Trade Certified factories must adhere to rigorous social, environmental, and economic standards.
Fair Trade USA ensures workers making Fair Trade Certified goods work in safe conditions, protect the environment, and build sustainable livelihoods. The organization also ensures these workers earn additional money through a Community Development Fund. When we sell a Fair Trade Certified style, we put a portion of the profit into a Community Development Fund, which goes directly back to the community of origin. That community then decides how best to spend the funds to meet their unique social, environmental, and economic needs.
At Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills, our Fair Trade factory in India, Fair Trade workers voted to use their Community Development Fund to buy water filters and monthly health kits, filled with items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and detergent. Most workers are migrants who can take the water filters and health kits back to their villages for their families to use.
Closer to home, at Wholesum Harvest in Arizona, Fair Trade workers voted to use their Community Development Fund to offset the cost of health insurance for workers. As a result, in 2018, 88 percent of Wholesum Harvest workers opted in to the employee-provided health insurance, up from just 5 percent in 2017. That compares to just 35 percent of farm workers nationwide.
This month, Fair Trade USA is celebrating its 20th anniversary. and we’re celebrating with them. Our Fair Trade Certified styles are not just clothing. They’re direct connections between you and the person who made them. By choosing Fair Trade Certified styles, you’ve made working conditions safer, healthcare and education more accessible, and brighter futures attainable for generations of families. Thank you for putting people and the planet first.