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WEST ELM & WILLIAMS-SONOMA, INC., FIRST INTERNATIONAL HOME RETAILER TO PARTNER WITH FAIR TRADE USA, EXPAND COMMITMENT TO $3 MILLION IN PREMIUMS BY 2020

Partners with First-Ever Fair Trade Certified Furniture Factory in Vietnam, for Total of 11 Fair Trade Factories across Nepal, India, Pakistan

10/4/17 6:00 PDT

Dateline:

BROOKLYN, N.Y.

Public Company Information:

NYSE:
WSM
"Our Fair Trade efforts have grown from impacting fewer than 200 workers in 2014 to making a meaningful contribution to the lives of more than 5,000 workers today. The results continue to motivate us every day to help educate and encourage our customers to do more."

BROOKLYN, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As the first international home furnishings retailer to partner with Fair Trade USA in 2014, West Elm and parent company Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE: WSM) today announced plans to expand upon their responsible retail commitments to include a goal to pay premiums of $3 million towards Fair Trade Community Development by 2020. The company also announced that it has partnered with Vietnam’s first-ever Fair Trade furniture factory, bringing its total operating Fair Trade factory count to 11 in countries including Nepal, India and Pakistan.

Consumers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on social and environmental impacts. West Elm believes that the vendors it partners with can lead to positive change, and as such has committed that 40 percent of its product will be Fair Trade Certified™ by 2020. One of the most important aspects of Fair Trade is its ability to help realize economic empowerment in global communities and improve artisans’ and workers’ quality of life. Not only must factories meet rigorous social and environmental criteria, but workers also earn additional money (called Community Development Premiums) with every single Fair Trade purchase. Workers vote on how to spend these funds to address pressing needs in their community. Toward these goals, 4,500 Fair Trade products have been introduced as part of West Elm’s 2017 assortment of furniture, decorative accessories and rugs.

"We are passionate about using great design to further the economic empowerment of our artists and makers both in the U.S. and abroad. Our goal is to continue to drive meaningful social, economic and ethical reform within the retail industry, while creating a lasting, positive impact in the lives of the people behind our products," said Alex Bellos, President of West Elm. “Our Fair Trade efforts have grown from impacting fewer than 200 workers in 2014 to making a meaningful contribution to the lives of more than 5,000 workers today. The results continue to motivate us every day to help educate and encourage our customers to do more.”

“West Elm is an inspiring partner in their relentless commitment to affect positive change on an industry and the people behind the products,” said Paul Rice, President and CEO of Fair Trade USA. “The Fair Trade Premiums from West Elm products have directly changed the lives of global workers and their families. As a result, many now have access to healthcare, education and other services for the first time in their lives. West Elm is a powerful example of how it is possible to do well while doing good – an example that is helping us build a movement.”

Fair Trade USA partnership by the numbers:

  • 11 Fair Trade Certified factories in India, Nepal, Pakistan, and now the first-ever furniture factory to be certified in Vietnam. This newest addition is where West Elm’s signature Mid-century collection is manufactured.
  • West Elm released its 2017 assortment, featuring a selection of more than 4,500 Fair Trade Certified products that the company has purchased to date, across multiple product categories including furniture, decorative accessories, rugs and wall art.
  • More than 13 percent of West Elm’s products are now Fair Trade Certified.
  • To date, West Elm has paid Premiums to workers on more than 1,000,000 Fair Trade Certified products which represents over $600,000 in Premiums to workers.

2020 Vision

  • By 2020, 40 percent of West Elm’s products will be Fair Trade Certified.
  • By 2020, West Elm will have 20 Fair Trade Certified factories, supporting more than 10,000 workers and their local initiatives.
  • In 2020, 20 percent of West Elm products will continue to be handcrafted. To date, West Elm has invested more than $225 million in the handcraft sector, preserving techniques unique to our artisan partners’ histories and cultures - impacting the lives of more than 20,000 craftspeople and their family members.

Fair Trade is a key program to West Elm’s commitment to using its purchasing power to make a positive impact, and is reinforced domestically in the U.S., through the West Elm LOCAL program. West Elm LOCAL has introduced customers to a community of more than 800 American artists and makers where West Elm has stores, and has helped nurture talent and help small businesses grow. West Elm LOCAL products can be found at more than 88 stores, showcasing 6,000 products by makers, designers and artists. By 2020, West Elm will work with more than 1,000 makers across the U.S. representing 8,000+ locally produced products.

As Williams-Sonoma, Inc. works toward its company-wide goal of paying $3 million in Fair Trade Community Development Premiums by 2020, each brand is dedicated to incorporating Fair Trade programs across all product categories, including furniture, textiles and decorative accessories. Brand efforts to support and promote Fair Trade Certified products reflect the company’s commitment to deepen its connection with key vendors throughout the Fair Trade and handcraft community. Pottery Barn debuted its Fair Trade program in 2016, with Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen and Mark and Graham launching Fair Trade programs in 2017. By the end of 2018, these brands will carry more than 3,500 Fair Trade Certified products. The Premiums paid as a result help fund high-impact programs such as clean water projects, health checkups, hygiene kits and supplies, and monthly checkups.

To learn more about West Elm’s commitment to responsible retail practices, customers are encouraged to pick up the Fall 2017 catalog or view it online at www.WestElm.com. For more information please visit westelm.com/commitments.

About West Elm

Headquartered in Brooklyn, NY since 2002, West Elm opened its first store in DUMBO, the neighborhood it still proudly calls home. With a mission of harnessing the power of design and human connection to enrich lives, everything West Elm does is designed to make an impact in everyday life, from creating unique, affordable designs for modern living and commitment to Fair Trade Certified, from LOCAL and handcrafted products to community-driven collaborations and events. The brand operates 103 retail stores in the United States, Australia, Canada and the UK, ships internationally to customers around the world and operates stores in Mexico, the Middle East, Philippines and South Korea through unaffiliated franchisees. In addition to home furnishings retail, West Elm operates West Elm Workspace in the commercial furnishings industry and announced its expansion into the travel and hospitality industry with the launch of West Elm Hotels. West Elm publishes the blog Front+Main and is part of an active community on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube. West Elm is a member of the Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (NYSE:WSM) portfolio of brands.

About Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is a specialty retailer of high-quality products for the home. These products, representing eight distinct merchandise strategies – Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, West Elm, PBteen, Williams Sonoma Home, Rejuvenation, and Mark and Graham – are marketed through e-commerce websites, direct mail catalogs and retail stores. Williams-Sonoma, Inc. currently operates in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, offers international shipping to customers worldwide, and has unaffiliated franchises that operate stores in the Middle East, the Philippines and South Korea, and stores and e-commerce websites in Mexico.

About Fair Trade USA

Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable livelihoods for farmers and workers, protects fragile ecosystems, and builds strong, transparent supply chains through independent, third-party certification. Its trusted Fair Trade Certified™ seal signifies that rigorous standards have been met in the production, trade and promotion of Fair Trade products from over 80 countries across the globe. Recognized as a leading social venture by the Clinton Global Initiative, the Skoll Foundation and Ashoka, Fair Trade USA also provides critical capacity-building programs at origin, and educates consumers about the power of their purchase. Visit www.FairTradeCertified.org for more information.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions that, if they do not fully materialize or prove incorrect, could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements include statements relating to our goals to expand our Fair Trade and LOCAL programs. The risks and uncertainties that could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements include the risks that we do not meet such goals on time, and the risk that we are not able to execute our expanded programs as planned. These and other risks and uncertainties are described more fully in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 29, 2017, all subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K. All forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to us as of the date hereof, and we assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

Contact:

West Elm PR Contacts:
Andres (Dru) Ortega
AOrtega2@wsgc.com