There is news about HonestTea, founded by an old college friend of mine. Although bought by Coca-cola a couple of years ago, they are increasing their sustainable ingredients independently. Then, an interview with IKEA USA struck me as uninspiring and uncritical business news.
Patagonia Goes Fair Trade
In the Fall 2014 season, nine styles will be Fair Trade Certified by Fair Trade USA. This step, a first from a major retailer, represents a huge vote of confidence for the Fair Trade apparel industry in general.
“Offering Fair Trade products is an important new tool for us to help ensure fair wages and workplace safety for the workers in the supply chain who sew Patagonia clothes,” says Cara Chacon, Director of Social and Environmental Responsibility for Patagonia in a press release. “We are also empowering the people purchasing our products. This effort is part of a larger strategy to raise awareness with our customers on how they can make a difference in the world with their purchasing decisions.”
Fair Trade USA’s certification works a bit differently in the apparel industry than it does for food and agriculture. When it comes to crops like those Fair Trade bananas and chocolate you may see on co-op shelves, the focus is primarily on protecting the agricultural workers, making sure they have living wages and giving them the freedom to improve their own situation. In the case of apparel, those benefits are also extended to the factory workers who cut, make and sew the products.....
Honest Tea Increases Organic Purchases and Fair Trade Premiums
“Our progress in growing the demand and the supply of organic ingredients helps illustrate that our efforts to democratize organic and healthy beverages are bearing some fruit, but there is still more work to be done,” said Honest Tea co-founder TeaEO, Seth Goldman.
Interview: IKEA Unveils New Sustainability Strategy
I caught up with Ward a couple of days later to discuss the new strategy in greater detail.
TriplePundit: What are the main elements of IKEA’s new sustainability strategy?
Mike Ward: The new strategy really outlines for us how we want to transform the business in the next few years, using sustainability as a key platform of the business plan. People and Planet Positive is a way to explain to ourselves and to everyone what we’re going to be focusing on.
3p: So what’s different now?
MW: We’re looking at three change drivers. The first is a more sustainable life at home. We’ve always been fascinated with the way people live, and have focused our innovation on improving life, always at a low price. Sustainability adds another dimension to that challenge. Next we discussed energy independence and independence in the way that we source materials. That shows up in our commitment to renewable energy and the work we’ve done in our supply chain, particularly with respect to wood and cotton. The third aspect is a better life for the people and communities where we do business.
3p: What does sustainable life at home look like?
MW: That is where we can really add the most value. We have to be clear that even though people are becoming more aware, it’s a hard change for some people to make. But we, and all retailers, can be a big part of motivating people to make the change to a more sustainable way of living at home, because our products are so good.
3p: How do you reconcile being a provider of low-cost furnishings with bringing sustainability into people’s lives, in cases where the more sustainable options currently cost more, like organic food, for example, or cotton, or LED light bulbs?
MW: Cotton is a good example. We buy quite a bit of cotton. In fact, almost one percent of all the cotton grown in the world goes into IKEA products. The way we’re working with cotton is to really go back to the source. We work with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) where we have an opportunity to influence the way it is produced. This is an independent organization that works with farmers to help them figure out how to use less water, less pesticide, and less fertilizer, therefore growing cotton more sustainably.
3p: And adding your buying power helps improve the prices.
MW: Yes, it does. We’ve set a goal that by 2015, all the cotton we buy will be produced in line with the BCI standards.....