It’s been so inspiring to see the progress that Fair Trade principles have made across the world this past year, both from the consumer and the corporation. Here’s a quick round-up of events that made us excited in 2016.
Increased commitment in the corporate world
As more and more consumers demand ethically sourced products, our once small niche has caught the attention of several major players, who have made huge commitments to creating high quality products that support worker’s rights.
Outdoor equipment giant Patagonia has always believed in creating the best product possible. This year they continue to grow their commitments, with a total of 192 Fair Trade Certified clothing styles available. They’ve also paid out over $430,000 dollars in a Fair Trade premium, which was used to build on-site daycare at their Hirdaramani factory in Sri Lanka, which allows working mothers a chance to provide for their children and spend vital time with them. Their dedication to their employees is transferred to their goods, which are among the highest regarded in the Outdoor apparel sphere.
Discount-retail giant Target took their first major step towards Fair Trade support with a recently inked deal with ethical clothing producer PACT apparel, with the aim to supply 460 of their locations with Fair-Trade clothing basics like underwear and undershirts. These garments are manufactured using Global Organic Textile Standard–certified cotton from a farmer cooperative in India. The scale of this availability will go a long way to bring Fair Trade products to a huge variety of consumers, and hopefully spur increased awareness.
Increased Consumer Awareness of Fair Trade
A lot of effort has been made to raise awareness to the inequitable nature of trade, and the importance for Fair Trade principles to support worker’s rights. As of Feb 2016, Fair Trade USA is happy to report that consumer awareness of Fair Trade has spiked to 59%, with a further 40% of consumers demanding proof for social claims made by products. This new awareness is being driven by Millennial consumers who represent the largest consumer demographic coming of age in decades. If current trends maintain their trajectory, it’s reasonable to believe nearly everyone will have purchased Fair Trade goods in the near future, which would be an amazing achievement.
On the Home Front
The rising tide of Fair Trade floats all ships, and we are happy to see our sales increasing every year as consumer’s demand more of their products.
By supporting fair trade, our customers have also given us the opportunity to open a community focused, non-profit shoe factory in Debra Marcos to provide affordable shoes to the locals and provide valuable job skills training.
Ultimately, the largest benefactors of your support have been our talented team of employees in Addis Ababa, who are now able to invest in their future, and their children’s futures like never before.
You can see a whole list of our success from 2016 here for more info on what we’ve accomplished!
2017 is still in its infancy, but we’re very excited for what’s possible with the momentum we have so far.