Why do you sell items made in China?
Are they fair trade items, and how can we be assured they are made to strict standards? I love the look of the cottage sheets, but can't get over the fact that you sell them despite where they are made.
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Gaiam was founded on the basis of a commitment to individual wellness and the wellness of the planet. In that role we have been a pioneer in a number of areas. We were one of the first companies to make mainstream organic cotton and we are currently one of the largest installation companies of residential solar panels.
As we have grown, so has our realm of suppliers. Currently we source products from all over the world – counties as modern as the US (our 2nd largest source of products) and Italy to emerging nations such as China, Mexico and India. It is commonly known that emerging markets, such as China, often lack the formal environmental standards and audit procedures that mature nations have. We had a choice as to not participating in those markets, or participating with higher standards. In the second role, we feel that we can be a leader in change. When we look to source a product, we ask the factories about their social and environmental standards, and we reward those committed to higher standards with our business. We believe (and have seen) that if we reward manufacturers that produce products in an environmentally and socially sensitive manner, that we are contributing to a positive change in the culture and dynamics of those foreign markets in similar ways that we are able to change consumer shopping here in the US. We continue to monitor our sources and to raise the bar on their social and environmental standards. While we realize we are not perfect, we are continuing to make strides and are committed to effecting positive change in all parts of this planet that we touch.