The preliminary phases for this project, including the drafting of garment standards and their vetting by an advisory council of industry, NGO and labor leaders have already taken place. The pilot release of the first garments manufactured according to Fair Trade Certified standards will take place beginning on or around 11/15/2009. Subsequent phases of this project, described below, will take place through 2012.
The implementation will begin with the contracting, production, and certification of the world's first garments sourced according to Fair Trade standards, which draw upon more than two years of research and international consultation with over 60 leading NGOs, labor advocates, producers' organizations, and industry representatives.
- These garments will be produced using organic, Fair Trade Certified cotton produced by farmers in India and Nicaragua, and manufactured at certified facilities in the Philippines, India, and Nicaragua.
- Working conditions in participating factories will be audited by independent monitoring teams working in collaboration with the global Fair Trade network, and premium payments and financial benefits to producers will be documented through Fair Trade USA's supply chain auditing system.
- The garments will be made available on a pilot basis to consumers in the United States, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region.
Later, Fair Trade USA and partners will begin outreach to additional manufacturers, leadership brands, and union/worker representatives in order to expand the project to reach manufacturing facilities and cotton producers' organizations in other countries including Sri Lanka, Lesotho or other Sub-Saharan African countries, and additional manufacturing facilities in Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean. This expansion will be accompanied by the extension of the end markets for Fair Trade Certified garments.
Next, Fair Trade USA will lead the development and international promotion of Fair Trade Certified standards for processes in the middle of the Fair Trade supply chain: fiber milling, textile manufacture, and beyond. Following these developments, Fair Trade USA will convene a policy working group to examine outstanding needs in the garment sector including opportunities for fibers sourced in Northern countries, fibers other than cotton, and related trade and manufacturing issues.
Each phase of this project will be evaluated by Fair Trade USA's project advisory council, made up of leading stakeholders from all segments of the supply chain.
Fair Trade USA's work is already empowering people around the world to make dramatic improvements to the quality of their lives. Fair Trade farmers and agricultural workers enjoy higher incomes, guaranteed freedom of association and opportunities for empowerment, better market access and supply chain positioning, support for sustainable production, and access to resources for locally-driven community and economic development. These benefits are made possible not by charity or by international government aid, but by farmers' and workers' own businesses, which Fair Trade helps to build into thriving international enterprises. As many as six million beneficiaries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America now share in these achievements. U.S. industry leaders and conscious consumers play equally crucial roles: By choosing to offer Fair Trade Certified products, and by demanding nothing less when they shop, the Fair Trade community is helping to make globalized agriculture work for all of its participants, from farm to market.
Like food, our clothes have an impact on thousands of people, from cotton farmers in India to seamstresses in Nicaraguan factories, many of whom struggle to survive. Many believe that Fair Trade Certification, with its growing consumer recognition and widely recognized integrity, offers a solution to many of the development challenges faced by garment producers. In addition, Fair Trade garment standards can offer a more workable solution for manufacturing facilities dealing with a wide range of individual companies' codes of conduct and terms of engagement, and for brands seeking credible third-party authentication of their responsible sourcing practices.
Fair Trade USA has thus joined in partnership with fellow NGO leaders, labor advocates, and garment industry leaders to extend the benefits of Fair Trade to workers in the garment sector by developing standards for the first-ever Fair Trade Certified manufactured garments, and introducing them to Northern markets.
This commitment represents the extension of the proven Fair Trade Certification model from agriculture to an entirely new sector and a new industry. In many respects, this commitment is revolutionary: Fair Trade Certification will be the first-ever garment certification to guarantee higher wages for garment workers. Garments sourced on Fair Trade terms will be contracted at twice the legal minimum wage in producing countries, guaranteeing significant bonuses to all workers in participating factories. These higher wages will be accompanied by rigorous auditing against stringent labor standards, and supplemented-as are all Fair Trade prices-with an additional 'social premium' for worker empowerment and democratic investment in local development projects.
At the same time, Fair Trade USA and our partners' work in this industry is a natural extension of their work in agriculture. In manufactured goods as in agricultural products, traditional sourcing practices can be very disadvantageous to those at the production end of globalized supply chains. But by setting standards and implementing a rigorous certification system, by engaging rather than working in opposition to industry, and by mobilizing and raising awareness among a global network of end consumers, Fair Trade Certification can make a difference and add value throughout the supply chain. The Fair Trade Certified system already includes thousands of organized organic cotton farmers from Africa, Latin America, and Asia who supply major international manufacturers and retailers on more equitable and sustainable terms than their non-Fair Trade counterparts. This project extends the benefits enjoyed by those farmers to workers in the international garment sector, serving another link in a supply chain facing unmet development needs.
SEEKING: financial resources, implementing partners, best practices information, media and marketing assistance.
Fair Trade USA seeks the partnership of additional financial supporters, leadership garment companies and brands, manufacturing facilities in the developing world, and leading labor advocates to carry out the next phase of our progress toward Fair Trade Certified garment materials and manufactured garments.
OFFERING: implementing partners, best practices information, media/marketing opportunities.
Fair Trade USA is eager to work with additional organizations interested in Fair Trade garment manufacturing and retailing.