Ethical clothing company Epona has become the first UK business to back the Fairtrade Textile Programme, developed by the Fairtrade Foundation.
The scheme is the first of its kind for fashion companies and monitors every stage of the supply chain from cotton field to factory, as well as helping to improve business practices by enforcing fair prices and the delivering living wages.
Through the Fairtrade Textile Standard, Epona workers will receive support and training in production facilities to improve their rights. In joining, Epona has taken the UK’s first step towards running a completely Fairtrade production supply chain, said the company.
The Fairtrade Foundation’s cotton product manager, Subindu Garkhel, said: “The Fairtrade Textiles Standard is the first of its kind to offer businesses a chance to reject exploitation at every stage of the supply chain.
“As the UK’s first company to join, Epona is leading the way for small-holder farmers and factory workers alike. We hope that this bold move will persuade other companies of the every size to take this final step towards truly Fairtrade fashion.”
Epona, known for its causal collection of sweatshirts, T-shirts, tracksuit bottoms, onesies, and jackets, was acquired by the National Union of Students in 2013, in order for the union to oversee the ethics of its clothing supply chain. It was also one of the first companies in the UK to use Fair-trade cotton.