We go beyond compliance to develop and implement industry-leading initiatives that improve the lives of workers. When we empower people in our supply chain, they’re able to achieve their full potential, lifting up their families and communities in the process. We were the first home retailer to bring Fair Trade USA™’s factory certification program into the home sector. We were the founding partner with nonprofit Nest on its Ethical Handcraft Program to bring transparency to artisanal supply chains and the first retailer to feature the Nest Seal of Ethical Handcraft on products.
To deepen our impact, we set ambitious goals for Fair Trade Premiums, Nest Certified Ethically Handcrafted products and programs for workers.
- By 2025, additional $10M paid in Fair Trade Premiums
- By 2025, $50M invested in Nest Certified Ethically Handcrafted products
- By 2030, 75% of product purchases from suppliers who offer worker wellbeing programs
Fair Trade Certified™
When you see a product with the Fair Trade Certified™ seal, you can be sure it was made according to rigorous social, environmental and economic standards. Fair Trade USA™ works closely on the ground with producers and certifies transactions between companies and their suppliers to ensure that the people making Fair Trade Certified™ goods work in safe conditions, protect the environment, build sustainable livelihoods, and earn additional money to empower and uplift their communities.
One of the most important aspects of Fair Trade is its ability to help realize economic empowerment in global communities and improve workers’ quality of life through the program’s community development fund. Not only must Fair Trade Certified™ factories meet rigorous social and environmental criteria, but workers in those factories gain access to additional financial benefits through the premiums earned from each Fair Trade Certified™ purchase. Premiums received from the sale of Fair Trade Certified™ products are pooled into the program’s community development fund, and workers vote together on how to spend these funds to address pressing needs in their community such as water filtration, health clinics, access to affordable and healthy foods, and transportation.
WSI has partnered with Fair Trade USA™, the leading certifier of Fair Trade products in North America, since 2014. As the first global home retailer to partner with the organization, we sell thousands of Fair Trade Certified™ products across all our brands—from furniture and rugs at Pottery Barn to bedding at Rejuvenation to signature furniture collections at West Elm.
Nest’s Ethical Handcraft Program
Nest is a nonprofit dedicated to building a new handworker economy to generate global workforce inclusivity, improve women’s wellbeing beyond factories, and preserve cultural traditions of craft. It recognizes that while the fashion and home industry’s home-based labor force represents an enormous global population, these workers, who are predominantly women, have been largely overlooked and underserved.
The Nest Ethical Handcraft Program, which launched in December 2017, stands to revolutionize the retail industry by making home and small workshop-based labor a safe and viable option. Measuring compliance across a matrix of more than 100 Standards, the training-first program is tailored to address the wide degree of variation in decentralized supply chains. The program stands apart for its dedication to cultural sensitivity and handworker ownership in decision-making. Nest works hand-in-hand with the handworker business, empowering them to draw from their experience and expertise in order to develop processes that have the greatest likelihood of adoption while still conforming to the Nest Standards.
Our long-term partnership with Nest—initially through our West Elm brand—has persisted from the conception of the Standards program in 2014 to our participation as a Steering Committee member during the assessment period, through the Standards’ launch in 2017 and the subsequent Nest Seal of Ethical Handcraft launch in December 2018. The Seal itself is “a symbol of assurance letting consumers know that the items they shop, from fashion to furniture, have been ethically handcrafted in a home or small workshop.”
HERproject empowers low-income women through workplace programs promoting health, financial inclusion, and positive gender relationships. Through our partnership with HERproject, we have provided thousands of factory workers throughout Asia with education programs for health, financial literacy and gender equality. We focus on three workplace programs: building confidence and knowledge through training; strengthening and streamlining systems; and expanding access to products and services, such as health clinics and formal bank accounts.
Results have proven that when women have enhanced ability and agency to take charge of their own lives, they become agents of effective workplace change. By fostering inclusive work environments, women create more ethical and productive businesses.
VisionSpring provides low-income workers with easy, affordable access to eyewear and exams—a crucial element of care for weavers, artisans and anyone whose vision affects their ability to earn a living and support a family. Since the program began in 2016, we’ve provided exams and eyewear to over 23,000 makers in India, Nepal, Vietnam and the Philippines.
By the end of 2020, we impacted over 100,000 workers’ lives through similar initiatives. Through our partnerships with VisionSpring and HERproject, we can best invest in the people who make our products, increasing their access to economic opportunity, benefits and education.