In its bid to bring about a change in lives of some of the world’s 40 million garment workers, outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia has released a short 13-minute film, made in association with Little Village Films. Named Fair Trade: The First Step, it depicts the daily routine of a young Sri Lankan mother who works as a sewing machine operator in a factory that sews Patagonia clothing and her five-year-old son, who is able to attend the beautiful daycare built with the factory’s Fair Trade premiums. Some of the footage depicts the atrocious conditions, including chemical exposure, experienced by laborers in conventional factories, which really puts the Fair Trade experience into perspective.
So far Patagonia has sold 218 Fair Trade-certified clothing items (up from 11 in fall 2014). Now, it plans to reach 300 items by the end of 2017. The certification exists in factories as far as countries like Thailand, India, Colombia, Mexico, Vietnam, and Nicaragua. The clothing is certified by Fair Trade USA, which is a different entity than Fairtrade International but follows similar guidelines. This is an admirable step for a company that’s already renowned for its social and environmental progressiveness. Patagonia never fails to impress.