From: Jen Boynton, Triple Pundit, More from this Affiliate
Published October 22, 2013 11:53 AM

Patagonia Goes Fair Trade

Patagonia made headlines when they admonished us: "Don’t buy that jacket." In fact, they made so many headlines, we bought them anyway. Their commitment to environmental sustainability keeps them at the top of GoodGuide’s apparel recommendations. And they’ve even dipped their toes into social sustainability, with the Footprint Chronicles, a collective documentation of the supply chain and local impacts of all of their products. Today, Patagonia announces that it is taking its commitment to social responsibility much, much further — beyond documentation into third party verification.

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In the Fall 2014 season, nine styles will be Fair Trade Certified by Fair Trade USA. This step, a first from a major retailer, represents a huge vote of confidence for the Fair Trade apparel industry in general.

"Offering Fair Trade products is an important new tool for us to help ensure fair wages and workplace safety for the workers in the supply chain who sew Patagonia clothes," says Cara Chacon, Director of Social and Environmental Responsibility for Patagonia in a press release. "We are also empowering the people purchasing our products. This effort is part of a larger strategy to raise awareness with our customers on how they can make a difference in the world with their purchasing decisions."

Fair Trade USA’s certification works a bit differently in the apparel industry than it does for food and agriculture. When it comes to crops like those Fair Trade bananas and chocolate you may see on co-op shelves, the focus is primarily on protecting the agricultural workers, making sure they have living wages and giving them the freedom to improve their own situation. In the case of apparel, those benefits are also extended to the factory workers who cut, make and sew the products.

Read more from our affiliate, Triple Pundit.

Fair trade image via Shutterstock.

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