In 2014, West Elm made headlines when the global design company announced plans to help drive Fair Trade into an entirely new sector and became the first international home furnishings retailer to partner with Fair Trade USA. Coming up on the five-year anniversary of the brand’s commitment this month, West Elm reflects on the progress made, the future ahead, and the shift in the retail industry.
In the past five years, West Elm has made strides in its journey with Fair Trade USA. In 2014, the global design company pledged $1 million in Fair Trade premiums when it launched 38 products sourced from one Fair Trade Certified™ factory. Having fulfilled its pledge, West Elm joined its parent company Williams-Sonoma, Inc. in 2017 to re-up commitments, aiming to donate $3 million in Fair Trade premiums by 2020. Since the initiative’s onset, West Elm has grown its assortment to 2,200+ products sourced from 15 Fair Trade Certified™ factories around the world with $2 million in premiums paid by the Williams-Sonoma, Inc. sister brand alone.
“The goals we set for our Responsible Sourcing commitments have motivated us every day to think about how we can drive social, economic and ethical reform within the retail industry,” said Jennifer Gootman, vice president of social consciousness & innovation at West Elm. “We are encouraged by our progress with Fair Trade USA and look forward to making even more meaningful strides in our commitments to makers and communities in the years to come.”
Through its journey as a leading partner with Fair Trade USA, West Elm has helped drive a shift in the home retail industry. It’s successful efforts to certify home goods factories spanning several product categories and countries, including the first Fair Trade factory in China, has opened the door for other retailers to join in the company’s mission to adopt ethical sourcing practices, join the Fair Trade Factory program, and enact social change. `
“West Elm was our first international home goods retail partner, introducing the world to Fair Trade Certified furniture, rugs and decorative accessories,” said Maya Spaull Johnsen, Vice President, Apparel and Home Goods, Fair Trade USA. “Their unwavering commitment to Fair Trade sourcing has resulted in unparalleled achievements, including expansion into five countries, 15 home goods suppliers and $2 million paid directly back to their makers in our five-year partnership. We are so grateful for West Elm’s pioneering efforts, which has inspired other brands to join Fair Trade and given customers more opportunities to shop according to their values.”
This month, West Elm will come together with Fair Trade USA, Patagonia and several other brand partners for a first-ever Fair Trade Difference Pop Up Shop in Manhattan’s South Street Seaport District. Today through October 31st, visitors can shop, sample, learn about Fair Trade USA’s mission and discover how Fair Trade Certified products can be integrated into their lives. For more information and a calendar of events, visit FairTradeCertified.org.
Fair Trade is just one of the ways West Elm is invested in responsible sourcing decisions. The global design company and international retailer continues to flex as an industry leader in responsible retail with more than 60% of its product assortment responsibly sourced to-date, and big goals are still ahead as the company deepens its commitment to categories including Organic (GOTS - Global Organic Textile Standard), Sustainably Sourced (furniture made with FSC-certified wood), LOCAL, and Handcrafted (including the NEST seal). To read more about West Elm’s responsible retail commitments, visit WestElm.com/Commitments.
West Elm’s commitments contribute to its parent company Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s collective goals in responsible retail. This month, the company releases its 2018 Corporate Responsibility Scorecard, celebrating various milestones achieved company-wide towards responsible sourcing, sustainable design, landfill diversion, energy and carbon intensity, supply chain development, corporate giving, and volunteering. For more information, visit Williams-SonomaInc.com/news-releases.
About West Elm
Born in Brooklyn in 2002, West Elm is a global design company dedicated to transforming people’s lives and spaces through creativity, style, and purpose. We create original, modern, and affordable home decor, and curate a global selection of local, ethically sourced, and Fair Trade Certified™ products available online and in 100+ stores worldwide. We are a part of Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM) and participate in The Key Rewards, a free-to-join loyalty program that offers members exclusive benefits across the family of brands.
About Fair Trade USA
Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable livelihoods for farmers and workers, protects fragile ecosystems, and builds strong, transparent supply chains through independent, third-party certification. Its trusted Fair Trade Certified™ seal signifies that rigorous standards have been met in the production, trade and promotion of Fair Trade products from over 80 countries across the globe. Recognized as a leading social venture by the Clinton Global Initiative, the Skoll Foundation and Ashoka, Fair Trade USA also provides critical capacity-building programs at origin, and educates consumers about the power of their purchase. Visit www.FairTradeCertified.org for more information.