Fair Trade Certification for Fashion
Are you, like me, completely skeeved-out every time you are forced– either by budget or retail availability– to buy yet another cheap garment that you just know was made in seriously reprehensible conditions?
Are you, too, wondering whether that "eco-friendly" pair of jeans is not laden with toxic chemicals and sewn by a child slowly going blind in a dark sweatshop?
Now, there's a solution.
Last week, Fair Trade USA announced the launch of its certification program for textiles and apparel. The sole third-party certification organization in the US will be auditing and certifying raw material producers as well as cut-and-sew manufacturers that import to the US.
For the first time ever, two points of the supply chain – cut-and-sew workers and cotton farmers – will benefit from Fair Trade premiums. U.S. companies that source Fair Trade Certified apparel will pay a percentage on top of the cost of the garment as a Fair Trade premium, which goes directly to factory workers who decide democratically how the funds are spent. Additionally, cotton farmers will earn a guaranteed minimum price and Fair Trade premium to invest in community needs such as schools, health centers and infrastructure.
This is a major step to bringing accountability to the garment trade, as apparel lines from high end to mass market have latched onto "green" as a selling point, with no way for consumers to investigate their claims.
Read the original press release from Fair Trade USA, here.