Posts filed under ‘Fair Trade’

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Today we honor and celebrate the hundreds of women in Mumbai with whom we work. We honor their determination, courage and skill. It has been an amazing journey over the past decade to have seen the co-op grow, to see how women’s lives have been touched and how their experience has rippled through their communities.


IMG_1242 woman and sewing machine at tb trainingIMG_1968

To read more about how fair trade impacts women’s lives you can visit the Fair Trade Federation whose members create meaningful, lasting change in the lives of women.

International Women’s Day has been recognized since the early 1900’s, marked by the UN since 1975 and today is officially honored in 27 countries and celebrated worldwide.

“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights” Gloria Steinem


March 8, 2014 at 11:23 pm Leave a comment

End Gap & Walmart Death Trap Factories: Safe Workplaces for All 10 city tour, April 8-26, 2013

This tour will be coming to Washington with events at the University of WA (6:30-8:30 pm Savey Hall Room 260 at UW) and in Olympia (sponsored by Sweatfree NW and the South Sound Clean Clothes Campaign) April 23-(location to TBD)

WHAT: 10 city tour with Sumi Abedin, a survivor of the Tazreen fire, and Kalpona Akter, rd. executive director of Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity

WHEN: April 8-26, 2013

SPONSORS: Corporate Action Network, International Labor Rights Forum, Making Change at Walmart, SumOfUs, SweatFree Communities, United Students Against Sweatshops, and Warehouse Workers United

MORE INFO: All tour events will be posted on Corporate Action Network at


For more than a decade, Gap, Walmart and other major brands have produced clothes in Bangladesh factories that they know are fire traps. As a result, since 2006, over 600 apparel workers, mostly young women, have died in what could have been preventable factory fires.

Now, two major apparel makers—PVH/Tommy Hilfiger and the large German retailer, Tchibo—have signed a legally-binding fire safety agreement that calls for independent fire inspections of all of the Bangladesh factories they use and requires them to pay for the necessary measures to make these factories safe, and to give their workers a say in how to accomplish this. Gap and Walmart have refused to join that agreement and Walmart continues to obstruct efforts to achieve fire safety in the factories it uses in Bangladesh as reported in The New York Times on December 5, 2012 (“Documents Indicate Walmart Blocked Safety Push in Bangladesh”).

It’s time for Gap and Walmart to address their history of deadly negligence and take responsibility for workers’ safety before one more avoidable tragedy occurs.


* Demand that Gap and Walmart join the legally-binding fire safety agreement already signed by PVH/Tommy Hilfiger and German retailer Tchibo requiring independent fire inspections, workers’ voice in fire safety measures, and making retailers financially responsible for the necessary measures to prevent factory fires which have killed over 600 workers since 2006.

* Demand that Walmart pay the compensation it owes to families of the workers killed in the Tazreen fire and to injured workers.

* Demand that Walmart stop obstructing fire safety efforts in Bangladesh apparel factories as documented in The New York Times on December 5, 2012.


* During the tour visit:

o Nonviolent direct actions at prominent Walmart and Gap stores

o Delegation to Walmart and Gap headquarters

o Talks at universities in support of student activism urging university affiliation with the Worker Rights Consortium, an independent monitoring organization

o Meetings with state government policy makers to encourage the adoption of sweatfree procurement policies and membership in the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium

o Meetings with federal government to ask lawmakers to call on US companies to adopt binding fire safety agreements

* In any city anytime during April:

o Leaflet at your local Gap or Walmart store o Sign the petition to Gap at

o Sign the petition to Walmart at

o Repost tour highlights from @ILRF on twitter and


The tour will feature garment worker Sumi Abedin and labor rights advocate Kalpona Akter.

Sumi Abedin is a Bangladeshi garment worker who survived the November 24, 2012, fire that killed 112 workers at Tazreen Fashions, a factory that supplied Walmart, Disney, Sears, SeanJohn, and Dickies, and produced US Marines logo apparel for Delta Apparel / Soffe. Sumi was working on the 4th floor of the factory at the time of the fire and survived after jumping from the burning building.

Kalpona Akter is the executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS), one of Bangladesh’s most prominent labor rights advocacy organizations, and is herself a former child garment worker. BCWS is regarded by the international labor rights movement and by multinational apparel companies as among the most effective grassroots labor organizations in the country. Levi Strauss & Co. calls BCWS “a globally respected labor rights organization, which has played a vital role in documenting and working to remedy labor violations in the apparel industry in Bangladesh.” Kalpona is an internationally-recognized labor rights advocate and has travelled widely to speak about the deplorable conditions that Bangladesh garment workers face every day. She was interviewed extensively by local and international media following the deadly fire at Tazreen Fashions in November 2012.

New York Times, December 28, 2012, “As Walmart Makes Safety Vows, It’s Seen as Obstacle to Change”:

“The Walmart system of audits and inspections is not improving the factory safety conditions here in Bangladesh,” said Kalpona Akter, executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity. “They maintain this system to enable them to keep their hands clean and deny responsibility.”

April 11, 2013 at 10:32 am Leave a comment

Meet Nomadic Rabari Artisans from India

The Rabari are a nomadic people in India known for their distinctive embroidery and applique work.  This evening Fabric of Life will be hosting Rabari artisans who will provide demonstrations and share examples of their art. Fabric of Life Fair Trade Boutique is located at: 523 Main St.  Downtown Edmonds, WA.

Stop by and meet the artisans who will be providing demos and selling their products from 2-6pm!


July 25, 2012 at 7:40 pm Leave a comment

For Mothers Worldwide

With Mother’s Day and World Fair Trade Day back to back it is an amazing time to honor women globally! This year over 700 events  involving more than 100,000 were planned across the country in celebration of World Fair Trade Day!

Since 2004, Marigold has worked to create opportunities for disadvantaged women from the slums of Mumbai to craft their economic independence.   We look at economic justice as a starting point to bring about the overall empowerment of women. We have been honored to work with an amazing co-op that is creating significant change in the lives women and in the lives of their children.

Shakuntala is one of the oldest co-op members. In a recent interview she speaks about how before working at the co-op she was illiterate, now not only is she literate but she has encouraged her children in school. Her eldest daughter who excelled in school, decided to continue her education once she finished her basic courses and became a teacher. Now she is teaching other children to read.

In celebration of fair trade and mother’s worldwide…Happy Fair Trade Day! Happy Mother’s Day!

Photo: pictured above is Shakuntala

May 14, 2012 at 3:28 am Leave a comment

Fair Trade Federation Conference in Bellevue, WA this May!

This year’s Fair Trade Federation Conference is on the West Coast in Bellevue, WA from May 21st-23rd! The conference is an amazing gathering of fair trade advocates, businesses and producers from around the country and globe. To sit in a room of people dedicated to fair trade work is always so energizing! The conference is open to both fair trade members and the general public. If you are interested in attending or learning more visit:

Marigold will be presenting our Summer Line of fair trade dresses, tops, skirts and housewares at the Fair Trade Expo on Tuesday evening. Be sure to stop by our booth. We will be taking wholesale orders and well as selling retail items directly from our booth.

Look ing forward to seeing you there!!

April 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm Leave a comment

Fair Trade Sales Soar

It’s a New Year and the number of fair trade products is expanding, you can see this just by walking down an isle of the grocery store. This growing number of products, choices and availability is a direct response to consumer demand. That means you! First, sales are no longer small: retail sales of Fair Trade items passed $6 billion worldwide in 2010, growing 27% over 2009. Sales in just the U.S. since 1998 have generated additional income paid to producers, beyond normal market rates, of $220 million. As of 2011, 827 producer organizations in 58 developing countries are Fair trade Certified. (3)

“Fair Trade is part of a larger movement about corporate social responsibility, influenced by the public’s desire to deal with companies that are (committed) to workplace quality, the environment and employee well-being.”
~ Mac McCoy, president, dZi–The Tibet Collection (2)

When we make the choice to buy fair trade products we support producers on many levels. Unlike mainstream trade agreements fair trade agreements are rooted in supporting farmers and artisans. These relationships often lead to an increase in a producer group’s ability improve their daily lives. Sales from fair trade products pay for community development, to build schools, provide clean drinking water, pay for sickness benefit and pilot organic conversion schemes among other things. In conventional trade, the producer generally receives only 1% of the retail price consumer’s pay but in Fair Trade the producer generally receives 20 – 45% of the retail price. (3)

Fair trade products have financed a magnitude of programs that impact producers lives daily. The Union of Indigenous Communities of the Isthmus coffee growing cooperative in Oaxaca dedicated funds from the sale of Fair trade products for a variety of social purposes. They paid for the construction of latrines; fuel-efficient household stoves to reduce disease, smoke related respiratory problems; training local youth as community development workers. But also for environmentally focused activities for combating deforestation, and training young people in appropriate composting technologies intercropping of coffee and legumes, animal husbandry, and alternative food and cash cropping. At the Majomunt’s organic coffee cooperative in Chiapas, Mexico the soil conservation used has helped reduce soil loss erosion by 38,000 tons per year. In these ways fair trade is helping to preserve cultural identity and pride. (4)

A significant number of studies identified increased self-confidence gained by producers particularly women who participate in fair trade.

Sonia Anahue Uscamayta

“In the beginning when we were struggling to make money and find customers, when one person would want to give up, the others were beside them and encouraging them to stick with it.” – Sonia Anahue Uscamayta has been working in Peru with the Munay Rumi jewelry cooperative for four years. (1)

There is evidence that participation in fair trade improves quality of life for producers as well as product quality. Relationships between buyers and producers are long term when fair trade. This leads to substantial improvements in product quality as long-term direct trade relationships create incentive improve in years to come. Producers are allowed to plan for the future they can depend on stability; both their buyers and their market thanks to fair trade  products. Murry et al (2003) reported that the Majomunt cooperative in Chiapas is planning for the future by investing in a community organic farming promoter, which has allowed farmers to convert their coffee and other crops to higher-income generating, diversified and more ecologically sound production. (4)

“With Fair Trade we have an incentive to invest in social programs that benefit producers and the community. We also receive higher incomes to sustain ourselves. If it weren’t for Fair Trade, we wouldn’t exist as banana producers since the amount we receive for a box of conventional bananas does not cover our expenses.” ~ Edinson Cabana Zapata, co-op member, ASOPROBAN banana cooperative, Colombia (2)

When we buy Fair Trade products, we know that:

  • Artisans and farmers are paid a fair and livable wage
  • No child labor is involved
  • Safe working conditions are provided
  • Environmentally sustainable production methods are used.
  • Profits are reinvested into the community for education, health care, and social services
  • Communities become self-sustaining and can raise themselves out of poverty

Thanks for supporting fair trade!

Works Cited

1. “Crafting Change: Fair Trade Artisan Tour.” Green America: Economic Action for a Just Planet. Web. 19 Jan. 2012. <;.

2. Fair Trade Community. Web. 24 Jan. 2012. <;.

3. Fair Trade Resource Network » Our Goal: To Create a Market That Values the People Who Make the Food We Eat and the Goods We Use. Web. 24 Jan. 2012. <;.

4. Nelson, Valerie, and Barry Pound. “The Last Ten Years: A Comprehensive Review of Literature on the Impact of Fairtrade.” Review. Print.

5. “Fairtrade Certification.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 24 Jan. 2012. <;.



January 30, 2012 at 8:34 pm 2 comments

Closing the Loop on the Global Apparel Supply Chain Cambodian Labor Activists join members of Seattle City Council and WA State Legislature to call for Washington State to pass a SweatFree Purchasing Policy

 from the WA FAir Trade Coalition: The Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers Democratic Union and the National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia, representing over 80,000, mostly women, apparel workers are coming to Seattle to share their fight for a living wage. A fight which brought hundreds of thousands of workers to the streets of Cambodia within the last year.
The City of Seattle in the last year passed a SweatFree Purchasing policy in solidarity with these workers and apparel workers worldwide who continue to labor in sweatshops making clothing for the US marketplace. Next year the WA State Legislature will move forward on a State-wide SweatFree Purchasing Policy-to insure that WA State tax dollars are supporting workers rights wherever we do business.

This is an opportunity for producers and consumers to create a humane supply chain that benefits everyone with high working standards and living wages.

When: 12pm Noon, Thursday, July 28th 2011
Where: Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave, Seattle (inside lobby)
Confirmed Speakers: Seattle Councilmember Nick Licata, WA State Senator Steve Conway, Ath Thorn, Coalition of Cambodia Apparel Workers Democratic Union (CCAWDU), Ms Morm Nhim, National Independent Federation Textile Union of Cambodia (NIFTUC), Phouk Hoeung, Cambodian Women Movement’s Organization.
Invited speakers: WA Rep. Bob Hasegawa, Seattle Councilmember Tom Rassmussen.
Join the Washington Fair Trade Coalition/SweatFree WA Campaign, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), Solidarity Center AFL-CIO, and Teamsters 117
 Cambodian delegation in Seattle City Hall-solidarity in the global apparel supply chain from producers to consumers. Bring signs calling for WA State to pass a SweatFree Purchasing Policy.

July 27, 2011 at 4:38 am Leave a comment

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