Working since 2001 to develop a supply chain from the ground up in Central America, Maggie’s Organics is proud of all that we have learned and accomplished along the way. It takes many steps and many hands to create even the most basic piece of clothing, and we have always made it our goal to ensure that all the producers involved in our production chain are treated fairly.
Maggie’s Organics endeavors to be completely transparent with all of our supply chains. We invite you to take a tour of each step of our apparel production process by clicking the links below, or by watching our Fabric of Humanity video.
Click here to view more photos of the Certification process on our Flickr page.
But aside from supply chain transparency, we also want to talk a bit about the fair trade certification process:
When the option of third party verification became available to us a few years ago, Maggie’s was immediately proactive in signing up for the audits, first through SCS’s Fair Labor Certification, and later through the apparel pilot offered by FairTrade USA. Having our fair trade efforts validated through auditing and certification brought us all a sense of pride that we were doing the right thing.
However, after 2 years of audits – over 20 total audits for this chain alone – we have decided that this third party monitoring process may not be the answer for us. The farmers and workers in our supply chains have spent extensive time and resources filling out forms and restructuring their cooperatives for these programs, and they feel that this red tape has been financially cumbersome and operationally inefficient. Since Maggie’s already pays them more than the fair trade price for our cotton, our producers have repeatedly questioned the benefits of this validation process. This has led us to question: If the very people who are the central beneficiaries of fair trade do not find these third party verifications to be justifiable, then is certification truly our best option?
In light of these experiences, we will not be renewing our certifications in the near future. We do still have many items in stock with Fair Trade Certified TM and Fair Labor CertifiedTM labels, which includes all of our apparel products: Tops, Bottoms, Dresses, and Scarves. However, these logos will be phased out of our labels as we shift away from third party auditing programs and seek alternative methods for sharing and verifying our trade practices.
One replacement effort in this area is a supply chain report we recently completed through free2work.org, which you can see here. Free2work is a project of NotforSale and is supported by the International Labor Rights Forum. Of all of the programs we have participated in, we have found free2work’s to be the most comprehensive, thorough and quantitative. Free2work’s report demanded detailed information regarding every step of our apparel supply chain, as well as our overall procurement practices. Under this program, our suppliers did not have to contend with lengthy audits, and the fact that free2work costs us nothing means that it is easier for us to balance fair wages along our production chain with reasonable prices at the retail level.
We strongly believe that being a fair trade company goes far beyond the presence of a certification hangtag, and we hope that our integrity and transparency clearly show that Maggie’s products embody the welfare and satisfaction of every worker in our chain.
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Outside the US: (734) 482-4000