VENTURA and OAKLAND, California. (October 22, 2013) – Patagonia Inc., the outdoor apparel company, is proud to announce its plans to offer Fair Trade Certified™ apparel starting with nine styles in the Fall 2014 season.
For every Fair Trade Certified product Patagonia sells, the company will pay a premium directly into a special workers’ fund. The workers will decide collectively how to spend this fund, based on what they deem to be their community’s greatest needs: from scholarships and disaster relief funds, to medical care and transportation. Workers can also vote to take the Fair Trade premium dollars as a cash bonus, which can be equivalent to an entire month’s salary or more.
“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. “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.”
“Patagonia’s commitment to Fair Trade apparel marks a significant turning point for the apparel industry as a whole,” said Paul Rice, President & CEO of Fair Trade USA. “They’re showing the world that style and ethics don’t have to be mutually exclusive, and that transparency, sustainability and good businesses go hand in hand.”
Patagonia’s Fair Trade Certified products will be made in factories monitored and certified by Fair Trade USA under their strict social and environmental standards. Consumers will have independently verified and transparent assurance that the Fair Trade Certified™ products they buy are made under safe working conditions, where workers have a voice and earn a fair wage.
Fair Trade is a market-based approach to poverty alleviation and sustainable development which offers incentives to factories for complying with strict social, economic and environmental criteria. Most widely known as a certification for coffee or chocolate, Fair Trade USA has spent the past three years developing an apparel standard certification program that has the potential to dramatically change the entire manufacturing industry for the better. Deeply committed to social and environmental responsibility, Patagonia is a proud founding member of the Fair Labor Association. In 2007, the company redefined corporate supply chain transparency through their website their Footprint Chronicles® microsite.
Patagonia, Inc., based in Ventura, California, is a leading designer and retailer of core outdoor, alpine, fly fishing, snow, surf and sport-related apparel, equipment, footwear and accessories. The company is recognized internationally for its commitment to authentic product quality and environmental activism, contributing over $55 million in grants and in-kind donations to date. Incorporating environmental responsibility into product development, the company has, since 1996, used only organically grown cotton in its clothing line. The company’s entire product line is recyclable through its Common Threads Partnership. The Footprint Chronicles® microsite at patagonia.com/us/footprint explores the company’s environmental and social footprint.
About Fair Trade USA
Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit organization, is the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in North America. Fair Trade USA audits and certifies transactions between companies and their international suppliers to help ensure that farmers and workers are paid fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment, and receive community development funds to empower and improve their communities. Fair Trade USA also educates consumers, brings new manufacturers and retailers into the Fair Trade system, and provides farming communities with the tools, training and resources to thrive as international businesspeople. Visit FairTradeCertified.org for more information.
Jess Clayton, 805-667-4755, firstname.lastname@example.org
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