Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Economic Justice: You Bought a Fair Trade T-Shirt

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Economic Justice: You Bought a Fair Trade T-Shirt

Article excerpt

How you justified the purchase The Fair Trade-certified T-shirt was the obvious choice on your window-shopping-turned-actual-shopping trip to the Patagonia store, even though you're not exactly sure to whom your shirt is being so fair.

The cause Fair Trade USA--the United States' most dominant fair trade certifier--says it enforces rigorous social, environmental, and economic standards that help U.S. companies and their international suppliers promote good working conditions, protect the environment, and empower local businesses. Patagonia, for instance, says it pays a premium for every Fair Trade-certified item that carries its label. That extra money goes directly to the workers at the factory who make it, and then they decide how to spend it. Patagonia says workers in one Sri Lankan factory used funds to open a daycare center that provides factory workers with free child care, implement a health and sanitation program, and pay for sanitary napkins and undergarments to improve individual hygiene. The participating factories also have to uphold certain health and safety standards and never employ children. Fairtradeusa.org offers a complete list of companies that offer some certified products--among them brands like Starbucks, Athleta, and West Elm. …

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