During Fair Trade Month, nonprofit Fair Trade USA is opening its first pop-up shop to showcase the brands that make fair trade a part of their DNA — and what it means to live the lifestyle.
A third-party certifier of fair trade products in North America, Fair Trade USA lends a showroom appeal to brands such as Patagonia, West Elm and nearly a dozen other brand partners for shoppers to peruse, sample and purchase. The pop-up, called “Fair Trade Difference,” is located in New York’s Seaport District through October and includes Fair Trade-certified food, fashion and furniture.
In an interview with WWD, Jennifer Gootman, vice president of social consciousness and innovation at West Elm, shared more of the company’s mission and why fair trade is a positive business trait.
“This program has been an opportunity for workers to directly communicate with their factories,” said Gootman, who added “what we’re proud of is exceeding 3 million premiums to factory workers.” The premiums help communities develop and sustain economic independence.
The Fair Trade seal denotes the products made in factories that promote sustainable livelihoods and safe working conditions with respect to environmental health too. Today, more than 1,250 businesses across 30-plus product categories are receiving the “responsible” seal.
Starbuck’s was an early adopter of the Fair Trade certification for coffee, and last year the Fair Trade USA Coffee program reached a total premium of $35.2 million because of the demand facilitated by importing partners.
Since Patagonia committed to the Fair Trade Certified program, more than 66,000 workers have benefited. Representative of a growing consumer shift, the initiative will “allow our customers to vote with their dollars for good values,” said Lisa Williams, the head of product at Patagonia, in a statement.
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