People Tree is a pioneer in the fair trade fashion industry founded by Safia Minney in Japan in 1997 and headquartered in Great Britain since 2001. Safia Minney founded in 1991 in Japan, the NGO Global Village (for social and environmental justice) and The Fair Trade Company, the first fruits of People Tree. Fair Trade textiles at large-scale production faces challenges, traditionally pollution, which demand impossible high yields of cotton in which the producers and soil cannot handle (1 million farmers are poisoned each year because of the chemicals handled. Cotton consumes 25% of the pesticides in the world for 3% of cultivated areas). In this context, People Tree is seeking to have the greenest and most respectful production line of clothing as possible, and to inform customers on its added value compared to conventional textile industries.
PEOPLE TREE spins links between its suppliers and consumers
5. Fair Operating Practices
- Educate consumers about the working conditions while meeting expectations of transparency about the origin of its garments.
- Keeping its promise to every stakeholder, including its producers
- Produce clothing which are 'good for the buyer and the producer’
1 / Adding meaning to clothing thanks to a human approach with suppliers:
Each producer has a social and / or environmental project of its own:
- Eg. Artisan Hut, Bangladesh: gathers 250 artisans from rural areas. By ensuring production and extended deadlines, those workers ensure the conservation of the traditional expertise of handlooms and improve their standard of living.
- Eg. of Assisi Garments, India: trains and employs 200 women (poor, deaf, or dumb) on the processing of transforming cotton into clothing. After 5 years every woman gets a sum of money to start their own shop. Profits are reinvested in a hospital in southern India.
2 / Humanizing the link between producers and consumers:
The portraits of producers are highlighted on the online store of the brand, where for each garment, a link “made by..." provides access to the presentation form of the producer who made the clothing. People Tree also uses the internet through Safia Minney’s blog "People Tree Magazine" to communicate with its consumers: on her blog, the designer openly shares all the news and events of the brand and its producers.
3 / Producers, consumers and employees consulted every 2 years:
Every 2 years, People Tree organizes a "Social Review" where consumers, workers and producers are asked to rate the brand on the 10 principles of the World Fair Trade Organization and to share their wishes for improvements and information. The Social Review allows People Tree to define its priorities for action and communication to answer to its key stakeholders’ issues.
> A prime example of action: a commitment to certified organic cotton : After all the abuses reported in the organic cotton sector, People Tree has pledged publicly in 2007 to promote organic cotton and to significantly increase its quantities of organic cotton (to double its quantities of organic cotton in 2010). To achieve this, People Tree has strengthened its links with its long time partner-supplier: Agrocel, who works with 20,000 Indian farmers and assist them to convert to organic farming.
People Tree makes its clothing certified by the Soil Association, assuring customers that they are "organic" from the cotton field to the loom, through the stain until their final journey to the warehouse.
CONTRIBUTION TO COMPANY PERFORMANCE
- Recognition of Safia Minney’s business model (global fashion awards 2010)
- Growth of People Tree’s sales in UK: from 30 to 50% of annual growth since 2003
- Turnover expectation for 2011 : 10 M euros
- The conditions of production allow most workers to double their income
- Handlooms save 1 ton of C02/year.