In August 2023, the Catholic Ethical Purchasing Alliance (CEPA) gathered institutional leaders from Catholic high schools and universities and secular workers rights organizations in Morganton, North Carolina at The Industrial Commons for a two-day immersion.
Supporting Catholic institutions in making ethical and sustainable purchasing choices
Catholic communities are called to use their talents to build a more just society by actively integrating the principles of Catholic Social Teaching into the purchasing decisions of their church, school, college or university.
The Catholic Ethical Purchasing Alliance (CEPA) is a project of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, EthixMerch, Equal Exchange, and COLLECTION. The Alliance provides support to institutions seeking to integrate these values into their purchasing through educational resources, immersive formational opportunities, networking, and mentorship.
CURRENT VENDOR PARTNERS
The Homegrown tee is a super-soft, long-lasting, and meticulously constructed classic shirt you’ll want to wear daily. This T-shirt is made with 100% cotton grown in the USA, cut and sewn in North Carolina, and dyed at Carolina Textile District member TS Designs in Burlington, NC. Their dedication to sourcing and producing locally creates a low carbon footprint. TS Designs’ unique water-based dying process is better for the environment than traditional dye processes. Under the leadership of CEO and President Eric Henry, TS Designs sets the bar for corporate responsibility by cultivating responsible clothing with completely transparent supply chains. Eric Henry is recognized widely for championing sustainability and supporting local farmers and mill workers. Eric says, “We have set out to make the highest quality and most sustainable t-shirts in the marketplace.”
Worker-owned cut and sew factory Opportunity Threads (OT) is a partner of the Carolina Textile District in Morganton, North Carolina. They produce our light weight, durable, and 100% cotton tote bag. Many of OT’s workers are from the Guatemalan Mayan immigrant community, possessing a wealth of experience in sewing and weaving that’s characteristic of the people from that region. OT specializes in upcycled and sustainable production for clients from across the United States.
The Bayside hoodie is union-made in the USA with American-grown cotton. Workers are represented by Teamsters to ensure safe working conditions and fair wages. Bayside knits, dyes, finishes, cuts, and sews all products in house at their facility in southern California, ensuring the highest levels of consistency, sustainability, and quality.
Unionwear is the leading manufacturer of union made in USA hats, bags and binders for the promotional, fashion and uniform markets. CEPA’s caps and fanny packs are made by Unionwear. True to their “Made Right Here” slogan, they employ 175 workers at their 70,000 square foot facility in Newark, NJ. Unionwear’s employees are represented by Workers United, Local 155, and earn health insurance, pension, vacation days, and holidays. When workers earn a living wage and health benefits, turnover is low, morale is high, and they have a stake in the company’s success and identify with its clients.
Equal Exchange provides CEPA’s coffee and chocolate. Their mission is to build long-term trade partnerships that are economically just and environmentally sound, to foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers and to demonstrate, through our success, the contribution of worker co-operatives and Fair Trade to a more equitable, democratic and sustainable world. They only partner with farmer cooperatives who are democratically organized, sharing resources and decision-making among their members. Equal Exchange themselves, organized as a worker co-op, an alternative business model based on democratic principles. Each worker-owner gets one vote, has access to shared financial information, and invests an equal share in the business.
From seed to sock, this custom sock manufacturing is done all in the US. All of the cotton is sourced in 9 states in the South, keeping the carbon footprint low.
CURRENT COMMUNITY PARTNERS
FIND ETHICAL BRANDS IN YOUR BOOKSTORE
Support the rights of workers and the planet by purchasing ethically sourced clothing from our university partners.
When social pressure affects their earnings, businesses clearly have to find ways to produce differently. This shows us the great need for a sense of social responsibility on the part of consumers. ‘Purchasing is always a moral – and not simply economic – act’. Today, in a word, ‘the issue of environmental degradation challenges us to examine our lifestyle.’
Pope Francis, Laudato Si’
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