PLAYING FAIR: Just as it did with organic cotton and recycled fibers, Patagonia Inc. is helping make fair trade a standard in the apparel industry by introducing a new yoga collection as part of its fair trade certified apparel line next year. Having followed a strict apparel standard certification program while setting up a fair trade factory in India, the Ventura, Calif.-based company is offering nine styles for fall 2014, including a form-fitting crossback tank and tights, both made of organic cotton-Spandex, which will retail for $45 and $79, respectively.
The company said it made sense to launch the fair trade certified apparel line with yoga wear because consumers of yoga products are more aware of brands and their environmental and social impact. Under its responsible manufacturing partnership with Fair Trade USA, which it announced in September, Patagonia will pay factory workers a premium for every fair trade certified product the company sells. The employees will then collectively decide to spend the funds on medical care, public transportation, disaster relief or other community needs. “Offering fair trade products is an important new tool for us to help ensure fair wages and workplace safety,” said Cara Chacon, director of social and environmental responsibility for Patagonia.