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What is World Fair Trade Day and why does it matter?

 

 

World Fair Trade Day is an inclusive worldwide celebration of fair trade’s contribution to the fight against poverty, exploitation and climate change. This year, it takes place on Saturday, May 9. 

 

Fair Trade matters in this moment more than ever. Why? 

 

While many companies are cancelling orders and protecting profit margins, Fair Trade companies are doing everything they can to keep paying artisans around the world whose governments don’t have safety nets in place to provide for them. From pre-paying for orders to issuing grants or fundraising on their behalf, Fair Trade companies are caring for their makers in any way they can.

 

Beyond specific initiatives during the COVID-19 pandemic, Fair Trade companies focus on making the world a better place every day. Today, we celebrate these three specific focus areas:

 

  1. Fight against poverty

    Fair Trade companies typically pay higher wages than comparable employers and offer additional social benefits such as savings plans, meals, childcare, healthcare, job training and more. These programs result in higher management and labor costs, but they empower employees to care for their families and lift them out of poverty. A strong job creates opportunities for systemic change that are never possible through traditional charity.

     

  2. Fight against exploitation

    Exploitation typically goes hand in hand with poverty. When people do not have their basic needs met, they are vulnerable to exploitation by those in power. Ways Fair Trade companies fight exploitation include: paying equal wages to men and women, never employing children, or rescuing women from trafficking. Overall, strong jobs provide stability to people significantly lowering the risk of exploitation.

     

  3. Fight against climate change

    Fair Trade companies know that caring for people means also caring for their physical surroundings. Trash clean-ups, waste elimination, tree planting, water collection plans, solar energy at production facilities, recycled raw materials – there are endless initiatives companies can implement to care for the environment while producing their goods.

 

While economies are shut down around the world, the need for commerce to invest in people over profits has never been more clear. The World Fair Trade Organization says this:  “The pandemic has uprooted the global economy, threatened lives and livelihoods. The fundamental shakeup also means we can shape how our economies will recover. Together, we can ensure the economy that arises truly puts people and planet first.” Learn more about their #PlanetFairTrade vision.  

 

While you’re staying home shopping online, choose fair trade and then post your favorite purchases with the hashtag #StayHomeLiveFair!

 

GOEX Apparel is proud to be a Fair Trade company. Thank you, our customers and friends, for all of your support which allows us to continue to pay our employees while our factory is closed and to invest in supplies and infrastructure to make sure they’re safe when they do come back to work. Learn more about the reopening plan here.

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Production Facility Update | Meet our new General Manager

 

Our world will see many changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. From fashion trends to sanitation guidelines, to the very definition of community, everything around us is shifting. One of the changes happening at GOEX is an expedited completion of a transition plan for our team in Haiti at our apparel manufacturing facility, LIFE. Jeff Blatt has been the General Manager at Life S.A. since we began this initiative more than five years ago. He’s been an incredible asset and we will never be able to thank him enough for shaping GOEX into the quality brand it is today.

 

After 30+ years in Haiti, he’s been looking to transition back to the states so over the last few years he’s been training our next generation of management. When we reopen the factory (hopefully in mid-May), Jeff will be in an advisory role and Ariane Manuel will transition into the General Manager role. Ariane is an incredible asset to our team. She cares deeply for Haiti, for our employees and for the quality of the products they send to you, our customers.

 

We wanted to take this opportunity to let Ariane share a little bit about herself and a Haiti update. Enjoy!

 

“My name is Ariane Manuel and I am a Haitian American living in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. I was born and raised in the United States by my parents who are Haitian diaspora. Despite living in the states, Haiti has always been a prominent part of my life between the family, language and culture that lived inside of me. I always knew that living here one day would be a part of my path, and now I find myself calling it home.

 

I’ve been with Life S.A. for a little over three years now. My journey has evolved into something I could have never imagined, and I am grateful for every step of the way. I came on board taking a chance on the unknown, just as a chance was taken on me. I had never had any experience in the apparel industry, but each day that went by I became more and more eager to learn. I was extremely fortunate to have had a mentor in Jeff Blatt, our long time General Manager, who knows this business inside and out. Not only was he adamant about transferring his knowledge to me, it was a joy to learn and work alongside him. In just three years, I am confident in saying I have a strong grasp on what it takes to make a small apparel factory run successfully.

 

Aside from having a newfound interest in manufacturing, there’s one thing that has always remained a constant. No matter how big or small, making a difference in other peoples’ lives has always been a passion of mine. Not only making a difference, but also seeking to understand and sympathize with others. That is why my position with GOEX and LIFE means so much more to me than just being passionate about production. We care about the people. We care about their families, their children and their well-being. I am grateful for every relationship I have built with each and every one of our team members. It is important to me that everyone knows they are valued and appreciated for their hard work they put in day in and day out. I am proud to be a part of this movement together, even more so at this particular moment in time.

 

It’s been almost two months since the shutdown of our factory. I’ve continued to practice social distancing the best I can, but as far as the general population goes, this task is close to impossible. Haitians generally make their living on a day to day basis. Meaning, whatever they are able to sell that day allows them to feed their families the next. They have no choice but to continue their daily routines. Yes, I constantly see masks whenever I leave my house, but I don’t see any sense of caution or fear. In my opinion, I believe that they’ve seen so much hardship in their lives that this virus does not scare them.

 

Small businesses have re-opened with limited hours and new rules they require each customer to abide by. This includes but is not limited to the use of a mask and washing of hands before entering their store. On the other hand, the re-opening of factories is more of a challenge. Naturally, because it is an industry that brings together many people in a closed environment. That being said, there are many additional requirements that all factories have and will be forced to comply with.

 

These past couple of weeks my main focus has been on acquiring all of the necessary supplies to ensure we are prepared for re-open. We have outsourced non-contact thermometers, free-standing hand washing stations, foot mats and other various supplies. Locally, I was able to purchase a substantial amount of alcohol, chlorine and hand sanitizer. Moving forward, each employee will be responsible for the sanitizing of their workspace as well as their hands on a regular basis throughout the day. Prior to re-open they will each be provided with 10 reusable masks and 2 oz bottles of sanitizer. Systems will be put into place and become a part of their daily routines. A lot of thought has been put into every detail to ensure the safety of us all. I am looking forward to being back up and running!”

 

Follow the story.

We strive to be bold with our words and represent the ideals we believe. If you like what we stand for, we want to share more! Stay in the loop by signing up to receive our newsletters, following us on Instagram or liking our Facebook page.

Read more...