OUR BUSINESS MODEL
One of the best things about giving a Fair Trade gift is that is begins a "virtuous" cycle or circle by benefiting the person who gives the gift, the person receiving the gift, and the people that crafted it. It is the gift that gives three times!
WHAT IS FAIR TRADE?
Fair Trade has entered the mainstream consumer consciousness, the way that environmentally sustainable business practices did over the last decade. Consumers increasingly want to know that the products they buy are not only good for the environment, but that they are also good for the people who make them – that these people are paid a fair wage, have sustainable long term employment under good working conditions, and that their entire communities benefit.
10 PRINCIPALS OF FAIR TRADE (WFTO)
The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO)'S 10 Principals of Fair Trade:
Poverty reduction through trade forms a key part of the organization's aims. The organization supports marginalized small producers, whether these are independent family businesses, or grouped in associations or co-operatives. It seeks to enable them to move from income insecurity and poverty to economic self-sufficiency and ownership. The organization has a plan of action to carry this out.
2. Transparency and accountability.
The organization is transparent in its management and commercial relations. It is accountable to all its stakeholders and respects the sensitivity and confidentiality of commercial information supplied. The organization finds appropriate, participatory ways to involve employees, members and producers in its decision-making processes. It ensures that relevant information is provided to all its trading partners. The communication channels are good and open at all levels of the supply chain.
3. Fair Trading Practices
The organization trades with concern for the social, economic and environmental well-being of marginalized small producers and does not maximize profit at their expense. It is responsible and professional in meeting its commitments in a timely manner. Suppliers respect contracts and deliver products on time and to the desired quality and specifications. Fair Trade recognizes, promotes and protects the cultural identity and traditional skills of small producers as reflected in their craft designs, food products and other related services..
4. Fair Payment
A fair payment is one that has been mutually negotiated and agreed by all through on-going dialogue and participation, which provides fair pay to the producers and can also be sustained by the market, taking into account the principle of equal pay for equal work by women and men. The aim is always the payment of a Local Living Wage. Fair Payment is made up of Fair Prices, Fair Wages and Local Living Wages.
A Fair Price is freely negotiated through dialogue between the buyer and the seller and is based on transparent price setting. It includes a fair wage and a fair profit. Fair prices represent an equitable share of the final price to each player in the supply chain.
A Fair Wage is an equitable, freely negotiated and mutually agreed wage, and presumes the payment of at least a Local Living Wage.
Local Living Wage
A Local Living Wage is remuneration received for a standard working week (no more than 48 hours) by a Worker in a particular place, sufficient to afford a decent standard of living for the Worker and her or his family. Elements of a decent standard of living include food, water, housing, education, health care, transport, clothing, and other essential needs, including provision for unexpected events
5. Ensuring no Child Labor and Forced Labor
The organization adheres to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and national / local law on the employment of children. The organization ensures that there is no forced labor in its workforce and / or members or homeworkers.
Organizations who buy Fair Trade products from producer groups either directly or through intermediaries ensure that no forced labor is used in production and the producer complies with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and national / local law on the employment of children. Any involvement of children in the production of Fair Trade products (including learning a traditional art or craft) is always disclosed and monitored and does not adversely affect the children's well-being, security, educational requirements and need for play
6. Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Women’s Economic Empowerment and Freedom of Association
The organization does not discriminate in hiring, remuneration, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, HIV/Aids status or age.
The organization has a clear policy and plan to promote gender equality that ensures that women as well as men have the ability to gain access to the resources that they need to be productive and also the ability to influence the wider policy, regulatory, and institutional environment that shapes their livelihoods and lives. Organizational constitutions and by-laws allow for and enable women to become active members of the organization in their own right (where it is a membership based organization), and to take up leadership positions in the governance structure regardless of women’s status in relation to ownership of assets such as land and property. Where women are employed within the organization, even where it is an informal employment situation, they receive equal pay and benefits for equal work.
7. Ensuring Good Working Conditions
The organization provides a safe and healthy working environment for employees and / or members. It complies, at a minimum, with national and local laws and ILO conventions on health and safety.
Working hours and conditions for employees and / or members (and any homeworkers) comply with conditions established by national and local laws and ILO conventions.
Fair Trade Organizations are aware of the health and safety conditions in the producer groups they buy from. They seek, on an ongoing basis, to raise awareness of health and safety issues and improve health and safety practices in producer groups.
8. Providing Capacity Building
The organization seeks to increase positive developmental impacts for small, marginalized producers through Fair Trade.
The organization develops the skills and capabilities of its own employees or members. Organizations working directly with small producers develop specific activities to help these producers improve their management skills, production capabilities and access to markets - local / regional / international / Fair Trade and mainstream as appropriate. Organizations which buy Fair Trade products through Fair Trade intermediaries in the South assist these organizations to develop their capacity to support the marginalized producer groups that they work with.
9. Promoting Fair Trade
The organization raises awareness of the aim of Fair Trade and of the need for greater justice in world trade through Fair Trade. It advocates for the objectives and activities of Fair Trade according to the scope of the organization. The organization provides its customers with information about itself, the products it markets, and the producer organizations or members that make or harvest the products. Honest advertising and marketing techniques are always used.
10. Respect for the Environment
Organizations which produce Fair Trade products maximize the use of raw materials from sustainably managed sources in their ranges, buying locally when possible. They use production technologies that seek to reduce energy consumption and where possible use renewable energy technologies that minimize greenhouse gas emissions. They seek to minimize the impact of their waste stream on the environment. Fair Trade agricultural commodity producers minimize their environmental impacts, by using organic or low pesticide use production methods wherever possible. Buyers and importers of Fair Trade products give priority to buying products made from raw materials that originate from sustainably managed sources, and have the least overall impact on the environment. All organizations use recycled or easily biodegradable materials for packing to the extent possible, and goods are dispatched by sea wherever possible.
WHAT IS ETHICALLY SOURCED AND DIRECT TRADE?
Ethically Sourced and Direct Trade is direct sourcing from artisans and artisan groups that do not have "third party certification" as is in place with a Certified Fair Trade producer. We include Direct Trade in our offerings as we acknowledge the hard work and fair and decent conditions involved with producing their handcrafted artisan products. When we engage in "direct fair trade" with an artisan or small artisan group, we understand that they might not have many opportunities to create income for themselves. They often are living in rural areas with minimal access to markets or they cannot afford the certification process to become considered a "fair trade" producer.
Here's how we engage with these artisans:
we work with traditional family businesses and profit sharing cooperatives
we pay a fair price directly to the artisan or artisan group
no products are made by forced or child labor
establish direct trade relationships based on respect and trust and visit the artisan group regularly
support sustainable environmental practices.
promote independence, education and positive work conditions.
THE SILK PROCESS
Our Kantha collection is ethically produced by a family business based in New Delhi. We have worked with this family for over 2 years, importing small-batch collections of one-of-a-kind, shawls and scarves.
These beautiful pieces are made from vintage saris, up-cycled into fashion pieces. Two saris are put back to back and then sewn together with the "Kantha" running stitch, creating a scarf of shawl with a completely different colour and pattern on either side.
Silk looks beautiful with it's lustrous sheen, is a durable fibre and is both warming and cooling. Each of these pieces are unique in pattern and colour and threads. Frayed edges, patches are all part of the nature of working with vintage cloth and re-creating a new product from old.
We are partnered with a fair trade women's cooperative in a community east of Hanoi, Vietnam. With 20 families operating 25 looms, this cooperative and can weave nearly 5,000 scarves per month! Silk weaving has existed through many generations, and scarves are woven with respect to tradition.
Weaving is an important way for villagers to make a living and bring money into their communities to provide education and medicine.
This cooperative employs sustainable practices like:
Using silk that is cultivated locally in their hand spun yarns
Using safe dye ingredients to protect the health of the artisans, the environment, and you!
Dye-waste-filter system, helping to protect the local environment
This collection is created by a fair trade women’s cooperative located in the North Western Himalaya Valley region of Manali, India. It was formed by a group of tribal women in 2001 with the aim of creating sustainable employment for women and in these remote areas. Now, with a production team of over 800 artisans, they provide free hand-loom weaving training to community members, generating income for over 150 families.
This cooperative produces high-quality, hand-woven, and eco-friendly products using natural fibres like wool and sustainable vegetable dyes. Using traditional weaving equipment, similar to those used in that area hundreds of years ago, our scarves are woven respecting the regions tradition.
Crafted by a fair trade women's cooperative in Bangladesh, the Jute Tote is extremly durable with leather handles, fastened on rivets. They cary over 90 pounds! The Jute tote is 100% biodegradable
The Jute Tote is also very sustainable. Not only is Jute 100% biodegradable, it also has a low CO2 footprint, relesasing (literally) tons of Oxygen into the air!
The mission of this cooperative is to create Eco-friendly products and by doing so, support woman and their families in Bangladesh. The lives of rural women belonging to this cooperative are improved by providing employment, literary classes and training on nutrition, women's legal rights and finance. When women are empowered, the community as a whole is transformed and improved livelihoods make life more enjoyable and sustainable. More income means better education, better food and peace in the households.