Fair Trade USA is making a commitment to improve working conditions and enable sustainable livelihoods for factory workers with its new “Fair Trade Farm to Factory: An Ethical Sourcing Model” initiative. In support of the initiative, West Elm is pledging the fair trade certification of more than 20% of its product assortment by 2017, and 40% by 2019.
According to West Elm, the brand will feature over 400 fair trade certified products this holiday season, an increase of roughly 180% over last year.
The fair trade initiative will take place over the next two years as Fair Trade USA certifies 35 new factories, working with 30 new brand partners to improve the lives of 40,000 factory workers globally. The West Elm pledge is said to represent more than $1 million in additional fair trade premiums that will go back into the hands of workers in the next four years alone, the company said.
Fair Trade USA standards cover areas such as monitored working hours, equal rights for men and women, overtime, grievance policies and paid leave. Fair Trade also covers worker empowerment, democratic participation, and financial benefit for workers through the fair trade premium, an additional amount of money earned by workers for every fair trade product sold, the company said.
“West Elm and Patagonia were among the first brands to respond to our call to the industry to demand new standards and prevent incidents like the Bangladeshi fires and Pakistani building collapse from ever happening again,” said Paul Rice, president and CEO of Fair Trade USA.
“At West Elm, everything we do is designed to make an impact. As a company we have a responsibility to provide ethical, transparent and sustainable sourcing and have great hope that our fellow retailers will be inspired to join us. Together, our industry can positively impact millions of workers and communities,” said Jim Brett, West Elm president.