Tag - Fair Trade Federation

Cultivating Environmental Stewardship

 

The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.

—Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day

 

Cultivating Environmental Stewardship

If we work hard to practice Fair Trade principles, but fail to cultivate environmental stewardship, we have missed the mark. If we work hard to make things better for this generation, but in turn, make things harder for the next generation, we have missed the mark. We must value the producers, empower the workers, defend the rights of children, AND be mindful of the earth while doing it. This is the Fair Trade Federation’s 8th key principle.

 

Fair Trade Federation members seek to meet their own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This requires active consideration of the environmental impact of every decision the company makes and creative adaptations in business practices that advocate responsible stewardship of resources.

 

Simply put, members reduce, reuse, reclaim, and recycle materials wherever possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are three key ways GOEX implements healthy environmental practices.

 

1) Responsible Sourcing:

We incorporate sustainably grown materials into our products by sourcing our fabrics from Carolina Cotton Works in South Carolina — they offer a variety of recycled materials. We use Repreve, a recycled polyester yarn and then spin our tri-blend shirts from US-grown cotton, recycled polyester, and rayon. Every tri-blend shirt contains the equivalent of approximately 6 plastic water bottles!

 

 

2) Responsible Use:

A large part of environmental stewardship is the day-to-day operational practices we have established. Our screen printing facility in Kansas City operates from an environmental and sustainable neutral position. We work with local authorities and agencies to ensure that the disposal of all waste/excess is in accordance with our positive environmental policy. We have an electric car charging station at our office and print shop to encourage electric cars. We recently moved into a new industrial building with large windows and low dividing walls to capitalize on the natural light, thus conserving electricity.

 

The main challenge we face is screen printing effluence. We are currently evaluating a system to capture all of our effluence from printing in tanks and to recirculate them and dispose of them. Attention is given to our suppliers to ensure the types of chemicals included in their products are friendly to the environment.

 

 

3) Responsible Waste:

When we can, we take extreme care to avoid waste in the first place, but it’s near impossible to be a Zero Waste print shop. Instead, we focus our attention on how we want to responsibly handle the waste we can’t avoid. We go back to the elementary school basics: reduce, reuse, recycle.

 

When it makes sense, we gift extra materials from the production facility in Haiti to the community. For other materials, like plastic, paint, cardboard, etc., we diligently recycle! We also reuse screens, boxes and ink containers in an effort to reduce our overall consumption.

 

 

 

Shop tees made with you in mind.

We’d love to get you started with a better basic tee today! Choose from our many styles, colors, and fits to make the perfect garment for your next group event — something you can feel proud to wear. Browse our Digital Catalog today!

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Fair Trade Federation Principle #2

Print Shop Staff- Kansas City

 

Developing Transparent and Accountable Relationships

Wouldn’t it be nice to know where the fabric of your shirt came from? Wait… what’s even in this fabric? Who made it? How much were they paid? Were they treated fairly?

 

What story does my shirt tell?

 

 

The second principle Fair Trade Federation members must exemplify is radical transparency.

 

 

Transparency creates accountability from customers to make sure companies maintain open, fair, consistent, and respectful partnerships. The entire trading chain must be shared through proactive communication to ensure that producers and customers feel actively involved in the process. Maybe most importantly, when we make mistakes, we must work humbly and cooperatively with partners to implement solutions.

 

Here’s how GOEX opens the door (literally) to reveal all the things you’ve wanted to know or never even thought to ask:

 

 

LIFE Apparel Staff – Haiti

 

USA Fabric —

We pay more for USA fabric because we can verify the origin of our goods from the cotton fields to finishing. We can visit any of the manufacturers involved in producing our raw materials.

 

Open Door Policy —

We have an open door policy both in our sewing facility in Haiti and in our print shop in Kansas City. When you visit either facility, you’re encouraged to talk with employees and get a better understanding of how we support the people who make your clothes.

 

Working Cooperatively —

Making a difference in entrenched systems is hard. The Fair Trade space is full of trial and error and we’re not the exception. We’ve made a lot of mistakes and learned many lessons.  And we’re always willing to share those lessons with other Fair Trade companies. From pay scales in Haiti to sales strategies in the US, we see the value in dialogue with companies working alongside us to make a difference for marginalized workers.

 

Employee Empowerment —

We want employees at every level of our organization to feel respected, engaged and part of the team. We send all employees in Kansas City to Haiti so they can understand our manufacturing and the impact it has on workers there. In Haiti, we work closely with the employees, union representatives and line supervisors to ensure any issues are addressed and resolved quickly and with respect.

 

Pricing Model —

We are completely transparent with our pricing model. After costs to produce premium apparel and provide living wage jobs, all GOEX profit — every bit of it — goes to fund projects set in motion by The Global Orphan Project.

 

 

 

You’re invited!

 

So, we invite you to come visit us — in Kansas City or in Haiti. See first-hand where your fabric came from, who made it, or how was printed. And keep putting the pressure on businesses to remain fair, honest, and transparent.

SEE OPEN TRIPS

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Fair Trade Federation Principle #1

 

We recently announced our membership into the Fair Trade Federation. The term “fair trade” is claimed by many, but fewer than 200 companies have been screened, verified and accepted by the FTF. This honor is followed by a commitment to uphold the nine principles on which FTF was founded.

 

We work each day to prove we are a business who does business differently. 

 

 

 

 

Principle #1: Create opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers.

 

 

Poverty alleviation and sustainable development begins with thoughtful, careful partnerships. Makers, developers, producers, farmers, suppliers — they are the soul of craft and trade. However, these producers often face steep hurdles in finding markets and customers for their goods. FTF businesses should recognize this disparity and seek to create long term partnerships that prioritize the producers and their communities before anything else.

 

 

Over the years, as we fought with genuine hearts to break the orphan cycle, we learned many humbling lessons. One of the most important truths we have learned: The best form of orphan care is orphan prevention, and the best form of orphan prevention is a strong job.

 

 

 

 

Creating partnerships — in Haiti and in Kansas City

 

 

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere with an 85% unemployment rate. Workers in the apparel industry in Haiti work six days per week for a minimum wage that barely covers their daily expenses. It is our goal to disrupt that thought process and prove a company can charge more and pay more, therefore elevating the lives of their employees allowing them to care for their families and build a better future.

 

 

In Kansas City, we partner with the Full Employment Council to provide internships for disadvantaged young adults in the urban core and then connect qualified candidates with job opportunities within our network or hire them ourselves if we have openings.

 

 

The Story Continues 

This story started with a child, grew into an apparel company, prioritized the worker, and now continues with you. 

 

When you purchase a GOEX tee or select GOEX for fulfillment services, you are assured your choice supports marginalized people in both Haiti and the United States. And, because we’re solely owned by The Global Orphan Project, 100% of our profits are reinvested to support families in the U.S. and around the world. 

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