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Published
Oct 14, 2016
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Patagonia sets garment industry example by expanding Fair Trade Certified partnership

Published
Oct 14, 2016

Patagonia is aggressively expanding its partnership with Fair Trade USA, having scaled its Fair Trade manufacturing from 11 to 218 styles in 2 years.

A worker in a Fair Trade Certified factory. Photo: Patagonia


Fair Trade USA offers a partnership where manufacturers can pay a premium to ensure factory workers are given certain quality of life benefits and living wages. Over 1,000 companies spanning 30 industries have began partnerships with the organization.

Patagonia began its partnership with Fair Trade USA in 2014 with 11 styles. It has aggressively scaled the partnership so that in 2016 it produced 218 styles in the program. In 2014 Patagonia used one Fair Trade Certified factory. For Fall 2016, it is now using six Certified factories.

“Fair Trade USA’s approach has proven it contributes to a better standard of living, including pay and employee participation in the workplace and community. It also helps create better working-conditions and safeguards against the use of child labor,” stated Rose Marcario, Patagonia’s President and CEO.

As Patagonia is often referred to as the godfather of sustainability and environmental consciousness, Marcario continued, “One last benefit falls not to the workers, the factory or Patagonia as a brand, but to the customer who buys a Fair Trade Certified garment: every purchase is a vote, with the pocketbook, for good values, an all too rare opportunity in our global economy.”

With Patagonia trailblazing, it hopes it is opening more doors for additional companies to join the movement. Once a factory becomes Fair Trade Certified, additional companies can use the factory and participate in Fair Trade manufacturing only by paying the additional premium.

Since 2014, Patagonia has paid $639,000 in premiums that go directly to the workers making its apparel. By fall 2017, Patagonia expects to manufacture 300 styles – approximately one-third of its products – in Fair Trade Certified factories.
 

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