Arc’teryx Equipment, a global design company specializing in technical high-performance outerwear and equipment, will begin its fair trade journey by converting three manufacturing facilities in Vietnam to be Fair Trade Certified in 2021.
The brand’s goal is to certify 80 percent of its products as fair trade by 2025. The company said the move comes as part of its response to the global garment workers’ crisis that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to accelerate.
In a call to action to fellow brands, Arc’teryx president Jon Hoerauf said the global apparel industry must do better by its workers, who he regards as highly valued and skilled craftspeople.
“The people who make our products are integral to our brand, and I believe their right to health, security and fair wages is universal,” Hoerauf said. “This pandemic has revealed massive global imbalances and reiterated how few social protections exist for garment makers worldwide, 75 percent of whom are women whose families depend on this industry.”
Following the significant impacts felt in supply chains globally, Arc’teryx said it is committed to joining the broader industry conversation to address the lack of social protections that persist in many countries where the garment industry operates.
“Transitioning our products to be Fair Trade Certified is a small step toward addressing these inequities,” Hoerauf said. “Additionally, through our parent company Amer Sports, we have signed the International Labor Organization (ILO) Call to Action, and we have contributed $50,000 to directly support garment workers’ short-term needs in Bangladesh via the AWAJ Foundation.”
The rollout of Arc’teryx products to be Fair Trade Certified begins in 2021 with close to 60 models crafted in three facilities in Vietnam, accounting for nearly 20 percent of the brand’s total products.
“The meticulous designs of Arc’teryx products require us to develop values-aligned, multi-year relationships with our manufacturing partners,” Hoerauf said. “Now, thanks to our partnership with Fair Trade USA, we have an even greater opportunity to protect the welfare of the garment workers associated with our partners. Through certifying our products as fair trade, we are ensuring working conditions and safety protocols are in place to protect workers’ health.”
For each Arc’teryx fair trade product ordered, premiums are paid directly to garment workers to improve their livelihoods, for example for childcare, gas stoves, health insurance or clean water.
“When COVID-19 hit, we immediately freed up these funds for workers to use to address their critical needs,” said Paul Rice, founder and CEO of Fair Trade USA. “As apparel supply chains faced shutdowns, operational reductions, and new health and safety measures required to return to work, they used their Community Development Funds to adapt. While the effects of the pandemic were and continue to be tragic and sweeping, it’s undeniable that garment workers in the fair trade system fared better with a social safety net.”
Based in Canada, Arc’teryx distributes products like boots, insulated jackets and base layers through more than 3,000 retail locations worldwide, including over 80 branded stores.
Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization and certifier of fair trade products in North America. Its trusted Fair Trade Certified seal on a product signifies that it was made according to rigorous fair trade standards that promote sustainable livelihoods and safe working conditions, protection of the environment, and strong, transparent supply chains.