Founder and CEO of People Tree
Safia Minney is founder and CEO of Fair Trade and sustainable fashion label People Tree. Safia has turned a lifelong interest in environment, trade and social justice issues into an awardwinning social business. Safia is widely regarded as a leader in the Fair Trade movement and has been awarded Outstanding Social Entrepreneur by the World Economic Forum’s Schwarb Foundation and an MBE for her work in Fair Trade and the fashion industry.
Safia Minney’s journey began in the advertising industry. But she soon saw the reality beneath the glossy image: sweatshops, slums and child labour. Surrounded by industry leaders who were questioning the value of creating advertising for products that nobody needed and polluted the planet, Safia began to ask the question that would define her future career:
What if design, creativity and media could be used to change the world?
Safia Minney explains why Fair Trade, sustainable and ethical fashion is so powerful:
I'm a human rights activist, turned ecologist. The price tag on the fashion you buy rarely covers the real social and environmental costs – and here is why. Developing countries end up competing with each other to be the world's garment factory, in what has been called a "race to the bottom" for wages, health, safety, job security and environmental protection. The system that keeps the world's people poor also destroys the environment.
Rather than being part of the problem, we can be part of the solution. It seems like a very small thing but, choosing a t-shirt or a dress made of organic cotton rather than conventional cotton made through Fair Trade can make a big difference. The environmental impact of fashion is something that should concern us all.
Faced with these huge issues, it is easy to throw up our hands in despair and feel powerless. But at least in the area of supporting Fair Trade fashion and organic fabrics, we have something clear and positive we can do. Every time you opt to support Fair Trade or organic clothing you are helping to empower farmers, artisans and communities – and importantly putting preserve on the fashion industry to clean up it’s act.
- 2013 Best Organic Textile Product at the Natural and Organic Products Europe Awards
- 2013 Highly Commended at London Sustainable City Awards in Sustainable Fashion Retail category
- 2012 Safia was a finalist in the Guardian Sustainable Business Awards
- 2010 People Tree was awarded Best Ethical Brand at the Global Fashion Awards in New York.
- 2009 Safia Minney was awarded an MBE
- 2008 Safia Minney was a finalist in the Triodos Bank Women in Ethical Business Awards for the Best Ethical Business Award
- 2006 Safia Minney was named Social Entrepreneur of the Year in the Edge Upstart Awards in Britain
- 2005 Safia Minney was awarded the Community Award at the annual Asian Business Awards, in recognition of her work with Asian Producer Communities
READ SAFIA'S JOURNAL
Safia regularly contributes to the People Tree blog, The Thread. Read Safia's Journal here.