St. Paul Pioneer Press reports on the growth of the fair-trade movement.
Bluejeans made from cotton bought from impoverished African growers at above the market rate are making their debut in Europe. Their French manufacturer, Rica Lewis, bills them as the world’s first jeans to be created from 100 percent fair-trade cotton.
The fair-trade movement aims to support small farmers in developing countries by buying their products at a fixed price that cushions them from fluctuations in global markets and provides them a better living. From coffee, produce and tea, the gamut of fair-trade products has expanded to include apparel — first cotton basics like socks, underwear and T-shirts, and now jeans.
Currently, only 100,000 of the nearly 3 million pairs that Rica Lewis makes annually carry the Max Havelaar seal certifying them as free trade.