Forest conservation firm Wildlife Works' factory in Kenya has become the first in Africa to be both carbon neutral and certified by Fair Trade USA.
On the heels of this announcement, Wildlife Works is launching its first-ever carbon-neutral, Fair Trade-certified t-shirts, designed by fashion brand Threads 4 Thought (T4T). The clothing company will be contributing over $6,000 in Fair Trade premiums directly to Wildlife Works factory workers.
The company’s pilot project in Kenya provides up 70 out of the 400 local jobs there. These jobs offer sustainable, alternative livelihoods to poaching and destructive harvesting. Every purchase of a Wildlife Works product, whether it’s carbon credits or apparel, goes directly to protecting these forests communities and mitigating climate change.
Wildlife Works is a leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) project development and management company, which applies market-based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. By engaging with and creating jobs in developing country forest communities, the company says it directs these communities' transition away from forest destruction and towards sustainable economic development.
In addition to meeting the stringent Fair Trade standards, which cover social, environmental and economic criteria, factory workers earn additional money with every Fair Trade purchase in the form of a “community development premium.” Workers vote democratically on how to use these funds.
In other fair trade news, Fair Trade USA late last year launched several new Fair Trade Certified products across new categories, including home goods, apparel and coconut. In 2014, the third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in North America partnered with 109 new companies (for a total of 915), and helped launch 455 new Fair Trade Certified products into the North American market. The growth and increased availability of Fair Trade products empowers shoppers to choose items that make a positive difference — from ensuring that factory workers have safe working conditions, to helping farmers and workers improve their communities and environment.