West Elm Expands Fair Trade Initiatives

West Elm and its parent company Williams-Sonoma, Inc. are expanding their Fair Trade commitments and its partnership with Fair Trade USA.

The initiative includes a goal to pay premiums of $3 million towards Fair Trade community development by 2020. The company has also partnered with Vietnam’s first Fair Trade furniture factory, bringing its total operating Fair Trade factory count to 11 in countries including Nepal, India and Pakistan.

With consumers increasingly making purchasing decisions based on social and environmental impacts, West Elm said it believes that the vendors it partners with can lead to positive change, and has committed that 40% of its products will be Fair Trade certified by 2020.

Also by 2020, West Elm aims to have 20 Fair Trade certified factories, supporting more than 10,000 workers and their local initiatives. In 2020, the company aims to have 20% of its products handcrafted. As part of its Local program, by 2020, West Elm set a goal of working with more than 1,000 makers across the U.S. representing 8,000-plus locally made products.

“We are passionate about using great design to further the economic empowerment of our artists and makers both in the U.S. and abroad. Our goal is to continue to drive meaningful social, economic and ethical reform within the retail industry, while creating a lasting, positive impact in the lives of the people behind our products,” said Alex Bellos, president of West Elm. “Our Fair Trade efforts have grown from impacting fewer than 200 workers in 2014 to making a meaningful contribution to the lives of more than 5,000 workers today. The results continue to motivate us every day to help educate and encourage our customers to do more.”