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Study Up For 'Think': Consumers, Now Hip To Issues Of Origin, Demand Fair Trade


We're used to seeing fair trade stamps on coffee and produce. But consumers are asking for more information about where their clothes come from, too. Companies like Nike and Wal-Mart are rethinking their strategies accordingly. Keith Brown, author of Buying Into Fair Trade: Culture, Morality, and Consumption, joins us on Think at noon.

Questions about clothing were stoked again in April when a garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed, killing 800 workers. As the New York Times tells it, customers reached out to retailers wanting to know exactly where and how their goods were being  produced. Companies like Everlane added information about plants and process to their web sites. Others, like the the hypertransparent site Honest By that launched last year, were leaving nothing to visitors' imaginations:

Take a cotton shirt that costs about $320: it took 33 minutes to cut, 145 minutes to assemble and 10 minutes to iron at a Belgian factory, then the trim took an additional 10 minutes at a Slovenian plant. The safety pin cost 4 cents, and transportation about $10.50.

Listen to Think from noon to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday, on KERA 90.1 or stream the show at Find the podcast for this show here.