Kailua-based wholesale beach bag and accessories retailer Tag Aloha, became Hawaii’s first local Fairtrade certified business earlier this year.
Tag Aloha secured its Fairtrade certification in the summer, following a thorough, six-month review of its supply chain to ensure its products are ethically sourced and produced by workers paid a fair wage.
"We are stoked to be Fairtrade certified," Tag Aloha cofounder, Alana Penaroza told PBN. "It aligned with out values and Hawaii's culture of sharing Aloha. We wanted to ensure sustainable practices and this was a no-brainer for us."
Tag Aloha sells an exclusive line for Whole Foods Hawaii and three locations on the Mainland, as well as a line in Sand People, 10 airport stores and other beach boutiques across the Islands.
Penaroza says that being a Fairtrade certified business means that a business ensures fair practices for all — from start to finish — in the manufacturing and distribution process.
"Becoming fair trade certified shows your customers and business partners that you value making sure everyone gets a fair share of the process," Penaroza said.
Tag Aloha did have to change their practices to get the certification. The company showed that it sources Fairtrade certified cotton and took the investment to align Tag Aloha supply chain complies with the most rigorous social, environmental, and economic standards set by Fairtrade International.
"It was validating to know what we've been doing from the beginning is in line with the Fairtrade certification," Penaroza said.
While the cotton and product is mainly manufactured in India, the brand is also partially made in Hawaii. Tag Aloha employs four locally, operates a warehouse in Kailua and prints a certain portion of bags in Honolulu.
"Following the made in Hawaii formula goes beyond the question 'Is it made here yes or no?" Penaroza said. "It includes the fact you employ people here, have a warehouse here and you operate your business out of here."