We started developing our social responsibility program in the mid-1990s, working side by side with factory partners. In 2001, we became a founding member of the Fair Labor Association, a nonprofit that works to improve working conditions worldwide.
With over a decade of close focus on our cut-and-sew factories, in 2011, we moved one link back in the supply chain to audit labor practices in the mills that make our fabrics. After joining Fair Trade USA’s apparel program in 2014—an effort that required us to change our internal procedures and work across many departments to embed the Fair Trade principles—we launched a successful pilot of 10 Fair Trade styles in the fall of that year.
This year marks a giant step forward as we grow our Fair Trade numbers to 480 styles and 14 factories. The effort has been worthwhile because now 15,700 factory workers are directly benefiting from every Patagonia Fair Trade purchase, and the factories we work with can scale their Fair Trade production when other brands sign on.