This week at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, west elm partnered with Fair Trade USA to expand Fair Trade Certification from farms to factories, building a global ethical sourcing model. Fair Trade USA committed to certifying 35 new factories to improve the lives of 40,000 factory workers globally. As an early adopter of the Fair Trade USA Factory program and lead partner in this commitment, west elm President Jim Brett pledged to make 20% of west elm’s entire product line Fair Trade-certified by 2017. By 2019, this number will reach 40% — representing more than $1 million in premiums that will go back in the hands of workers.
In 2014 west elm became the first home retailer to offer Fair Trade Certified products, working alongside Fair Trade USA to ensure that more of our workers have better working conditions and living wages. In addition to safer workplaces, monitored hours, equal rights for men and women, overtime, and paid leave and vacations, Fair Trade USA‘s program drives financial premiums that economically benefit workers and their communities.
“West Elm and Fair Trade USA share a market-based approach to social and environmental change,” Jim Brett says. “As a company, we have a responsibility to provide ethical, transparent, and sustainable sourcing and have great hope that our fellow retailers will be inspired to join us. Together, our industry can positively impact millions of workers and communities, which is something we can all feel good about.”
This holiday season, west elm will be offering over 400 Fair Trade-certified product SKUs, including our newest assortment of felt ornaments, handcrafted in Nepal.
This year’s CGI committment is a follow up to west elm’s 2013 commitment which was reached in 1 year.