West Elm opens Indian fair trade rug factory; Bill Clinton visits

Brooklyn, N.Y. - In partnership with its largest rug supplier, Raj Overseas, West Elm has established a fair trade certified factory for handcrafted rugs in India. Fair trade certification ensures that the rugs are made in safe working conditions and that workers are justly compensated, delivering a premium back to the worker to invest in causes of their choice.

Employees at the West Elm fair trade factory have chosen to fund additional healthcare coverage. Fair trade certified rugs will be available this holiday season at West Elm retail locations and on its e-commerce site.

President Clinton recently visited West Elm’s corporate headquarters in Brooklyn to view West Elm’s work to support artisans around the world and offer handcrafted products under the brand’s 2013 Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action.

Additional projects and progress under West Elm’s consciousness initiatives and CGI Commitment to Action include:

  • In 2013, West Elm committed to purchasing $35 million in handcrafted products during the next two years. The brand has nearly met this goal in one year.
  • West Elm is building a network of artisan makers and currently working with more than 35 artisan groups in 15 countries. More than half of the artisans West Elm works with are women. The brand makes long-term commitments of three to five years to each maker.
  • To further support artisans, West Elm recently launched an adult literacy initiative in Haiti in partnership with the Clinton Foundation and ProDev, teaching artisans reading, writing, financial literacy, and vocational training. The brand hopes to replicate the program with additional vendors and in other countries, including the Philippines.
  • In August, West Elm will launch the We Love Local Small Business Grant as the next phase of its West Elm Local program. The grant, which will be awarded by West Elm with feedback from customers through online public voting, will go to one U.S. based small business and includes a $25,000 cash prize and ongoing business support from West Elm.

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