Maggie's unveils first-ever fair labour certified line
Maggie's Organics, the nation's longest-standing producer of clothing made with organic fibers, is now the first manufacturer in the world to sell clothing that is independently certified to a new standard for Fair Labor Practices and Community Benefits.
Maggie's sweatshop-free clothes are available at hundreds of stores across the United States and Canada, and also online.
Maggie's Fair Labor-Certified apparel includes Knit Dresses, Camisoles, Tanks, Wraps, Hoodies, and Pants for women, and Scarves and T-Shirts for women and men. This proves that ethically based apparel made with certified organic fibers can be affordable. Maggie's sweatshop-free clothes come in sizes ranging from small to XX-large, to fit a wide variety of body shapes.
Consumers have responded enthusiastically, says Maggie's CEO Bena Burda. "People love the idea of a quality product that feels good when you put it on, made in a way that respects the environment and also respects and sustains workers."
Up until now, third-party certification of fair-trade and/or fair-labor practices has been available for commodity products such as coffee, tea, and bananas. Maggie's Organics is the first apparel company anywhere in the world to receive this third-party certification.
The certification was issued by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), which inspected every stage of Maggie's production chain. The stages include farming the organic cotton, ginning and spinning the crop into fabric in Nicaragua, cutting and sewing garments in Costa Rica, screen printing, office and warehouse operations in Michigan.
Criteria include hiring, wages, working conditions, hours of work, freedom of association and freedom to organize, as well as worker access to housing, healthcare and transportation.
U.S. and Central American business partners who were certified as part of Maggie's Fair Labor apparel chain include:
• an organic cotton growers association and cotton gin in rural Nicaragua
• a new cooperative spinning mill, also in Nicaragua
• a family-owned knitting, cutting and sewing factory in Costa Rica
• a silkscreen and design shop located near Maggie's Organics in Ypsilanti, MI
"We've always taken pride in how we treat our planet and how we treat the people we work with, so this kind of certification means a lot to us," says Burda. "Based on the feedback we're getting, it means a lot to our customers as well."
In addition to winning certification from SCS, Maggie's Functional Organics is also the only company rated "A" for apparel by Free2Work.org, which rates corporate practices on transparency, prevention of forced and child labor and employee empowerment. Maggie's is also participating in a pilot project for Fair Trade certification of apparel manufacturing with TransFair USA, a non-profit organization that has led the process of setting Fair Trade standards for coffee, tea, bananas and other commodities.