UW Today

March 17, 2011

Conference April 1 to address apparel industry, fair trade

News and Information

Activists, professors, University officials, company CEOs and garment workers will gather at the UW on Friday, April 1, for a daylong conference on fair trade and the apparel industry.

The event, titled the Campus Forum on Ethically Responsible Production and Consumption, will be from noon to 6 p.m. in Room 220 of Odegaard Undergraduate Library. Its free and the campus community and the public are invited to attend.

Representatives of the UW administration and the UW Presidents Advisory Committee on Trademarks and Licensing will speak “about the crucial role played by universities in a global economy, both as consumers of apparel and as influential, trend-setting institutions,” advance notes state.

Leo Baunach, UW student and co-chair of the Trademarks and Licensing committee, called the conference “an unprecedented opportunity for stakeholders from all parts of the apparel industry supply chain to come together and discuss how to move forward.” He added, “It is also important for students and community members to learn more and have their perspectives, as consumers and citizens, be heard.”

Among those expected to attend are:

  • Michael Hiscox, professor of international affairs at Harvard University, who will discuss the apparel industry, universities, consumer responsibility and fair trade.
  • Joe Bozich, CEO of Knights apparel, which has launched a new line of apparel named Alta Gracia at universities across the nation.
  • Evangelina Argueta of the Honduran Workers Confederation, who will speak on production issues and standards.
  • Caitlin Morris, director of sustainable business and innovation at Nike
  • Representatives of the Workers Rights Consortium and the Fair Labor Association, which seek to monitor production standards, and
  • Dominican apparel workers, who will be present via Skype.

A schedule of the days events follows:

Panel 1: New Directions in Ethical Apparel, noon to 1:15 p.m. Moderated by Norm Arkans, associate vice president, UW Media Relations and Communications. With Bozich and Bryan Pearce, CEO, University of Washington Bookstore.

Panel 2: The Challenges of Ethical Supply Chains, 1:30-2:45 p.m. Moderated by Debra Glassman, Foster School of Business. With Kathy Hoggan, director, UW Trademarks & Licensing Office; Argueta of the Honduran General Workers’ Confederation; Morris of Nike; and Scott Nova, executive director of the Workers Rights Consortium.

Panel 3: Monitoring Corporations and Creating Compliance, 3-4:15 p.m. Moderated by Bruce Kochis, senior lecturer, Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell. With Morgan Currier, United Students Against Sweatshops; Lynda Yanz, Maquila Solidarity Network; Jorge Perez-Lopez, Fair Labor Association; and Aseem Prakash, UW professor of political science.

Panel 4: The Challenges of Ethical Supply Chains in the University Community, 4:30-5:45 p.m. Moderated by James Ritter, UW staff, WFSE Local 1488 and The Brand Responsibility Project. With Baunach, UW student and member of United Students Against Sweatshops; Hiscox of Harvard; and Margaret Levi, UW professor of political science.

Many participants are members of the UW Advisory Committee on Trademarks and Licensing, which is sponsoring the event along with the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, the Foster School of Business, the School of Law and the Center for Human Rights.

For more information about this daylong conference, contact Baunach at 360-441-4044 or leobaunach@gmail.com.