The line contains 78 different products with 19 different styles, including baby clothes. For grown-ups, the line features basics like underwear, leggings, camisoles, T-shirts and long johns. In May, Pact launched a Fair Trade certified women’s T-shirt sold exclusively at Whole Foods. This new line will be sold at retailers across the U.S. including Whole Foods and Amazon.
The Fair Trade certified line is produced in a factory in India. For every purchase of a Fair Trade certified garment, Pact will donate a percentage of the sales to a worker-controlled fund. The workers will vote on how to spend the funds which include a disaster relief fund for factory workers, a scholarship fund for workers’ children, infrastructure improvements in their local communities, or a cash bonus.
“With Fair Trade USA as our partner, we can follow a standard and credibly say that our products are Certified as Fair Trade,” says Jeff Denby, founder of Pact. “I believe that, as a brand, our greatest opportunity for social impact is to empower the people who actually make our clothing. Fair Trade USA is the ideal partner to empower worker committees through the Fair Trade process and ensure that the funds are being used to maximize social impact.”
The four principles of fair trade
Fair Trade certified good must meet certain standards which are based on four principles:
- Economic development: Workers earn a Fair Trade Premium, paid by buyers and managed by the Fair Trade Committee. The premium can be either distributed as a cash bonus or invested in a collective fund.
- Empowerment: Workers are able to effectively represent themselves in negotiations with management for improved working conditions and partner with factory management to increase workers’ empowerment.
- Social responsibility: Factories are committed to upholding internationally recognized labor standards and to provide greater benefits to workers.
- Environmental responsibility and management: Factories commit to protect and restore the natural environment, with the goal of reducing the impacts of industrial production through waste, water, chemical and energy use reduction.
Other American apparel companies have Fair Trade certified lines
Pact is not the first American apparel company to launch a Fair Trade certified line. Back in 2011, prAna became the first American apparel company to be Fair Trade certified. The company launched its first Fair Trade certified garment, the Soul T, a women’s T-shirt, in that same year. The T-shirt was first in a line of fair trade garments. prAna now offers several women’s and men’s garments that are Fair Trade certified.
Last fall, outdoor apparel company Patagonia launched a Fair Trade certified collection featuring nine styles. Patagonia committed to paying a premium directly into a special workers’ fund for every Fair Trade certified product it sells. The workers are able to decide collectively how to spend the fund, ranging from scholarships and disaster relief funds to medical care and transportation.
Image credit: Pact Apparel