LAST UPDATED: APRIL 2007
With the exception of a few alternative trading companies that market clothing manufactured in worker-owned cooperatives or unionized factories as ‘sweatfree' or ‘Union Made', to date there have been only minimal efforts to create alternative niche markets for fair trade apparel products.
All of that could change with the emergence of a number of new initiatives in North America and Europe in which fair trade and/or labour rights organizations are moving toward the certification of apparel products as ‘fair trade' or ‘sweatfree'.
But ‘Sweat-free' initiatives raise numerous questions: What criteria should be employed to determine ‘sweat-free?' How is production monitored to be certain that ‘sweat-free' standards are maintained? And should providing consumer choices figure prominently in activists' strategies anyway?