Caring for the planet is caring for people.
At GOEX Apparel, our purpose is to use a simple tee to connect the customer and the maker because our customers sustain the fair wage jobs that empower our workers in their families and their communities. So, we often get asked why we also talk so much about sustainability. If our purpose is people, why focus on the planet? The answer is simple – caring for the planet is caring for people. Having a clean, healthy environment provides a variety of benefits primarily around health and wellness.
Why does this matter to us specifically? Many communities, and most of those where we serve here in the US and internationally, have been negatively affected by environmental disproportionality. This is the reality that communities in urban or rural ‘poverty pockets’ as well as in third world countries face some of the worst environmental devastation in the world. These communities have fewer trees and green spaces, more industrial pollution and waste and less access to resources. This affects low-income black and brown communities at greater rates than other groups contributing to health issues such as asthma, diabetes, heart conditions and obesity. In the US, this came to the forefront during this pandemic where we saw higher death rates in these communities because of these underlying health conditions.
And so, GOEX is doing our part to uphold the pillars of Fair Trade including “Cultivate Environmental Stewardship”. For us, this means not only using recycled components or fabrics but also joining in conversations about environmental justice and equity.
Environmental equity involves fair treatment and coming together as a community
Environmental equity describes a society in which no single group or community faces disadvantages in dealing with environmental hazards, disasters, or pollution. It involves fair treatment from a region’s authority and meaningful involvement with its constituents. And none of this is easy but we can all do our part. Here are a couple of examples of things we’ve done to reduce our impact on the environment & improve conditions for our employees in Haiti:
- One of the biggest pollutants around Port au Prince is Styrofoam. If you’ve ever visited you’ve seen roadsides carpeted in Styrofoam food containers. When we started providing lunches to our employees last spring, we knew we didn’t want to add to the problem. So, we purchased reusable food containers and pay more for each meal so our vendor can wash and reuse the containers. This provides additional work to our food supplier and eliminates daily waste at the factory creating a win-win.
- Our factory is not located in an industrial park but instead is in the middle of an undeveloped piece of land and surrounded by trees, grass, wildlife and fresh air. Our employees walk to work through the trees and enjoy fresh air breezing through the building. This isn’t the case for employees in other apparel manufacturing facilities.
- We make garments or accessories out of as much scrap fabric as possible to decrease waste going into landfills. (Check out our blog about our rib collection here.)
We exist to make an impact
As one of the elite few who have passed the Fair Trade Federation’s (FTF) rigorous screening, GOEX is dedicated to following the nine FTF principles established to maintain integrity: create opportunities, develop transparent & accountable relationships, build capacity, promote fair trade, pay promptly and fairly, support safe & empowering working conditions, ensure the rights of children, cultivate environmental stewardship, and respect cultural identity. These principles hold us accountable to serve for all hands that touch our garments. Honestly, it goes beyond accountability. It’s our dogma. We don’t do what we do so you’ll like us and buy shirts from us. We exist to make an impact – to create jobs, to heal the planet, and to do good.
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