The first-ever Fair Trade certification for a shoe factory was announced recently. A Canadian company, Oliberté, imports the shoes from a factory in Ethiopia that is certified by Fair Trade USA.
Oliberté projects sales in 2013 will be about $1.2 million and are expected to grow to $2 million next year. As a Fair Trade buyer, Oliberté will be required to start contributing 5% of its purchases to a community fund for employees at the factory. That could work out to about $2,500 in October alone, when Oliberté is scheduled to ship 2,300 pairs of shoes to retailers such as Town Shoes in Canada.
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