WHAT IS FAIR TRADE?
You may have seen the Fair Trade symbol or image on various products - foods and crafts included. The values that define fair trade are Respectful Partnerships and Sustainable Practices that make Trade a Force for Positive Change.
Sustainable Threads a proud member of the Fair Trade Federation, (FTF) USA. According to the Fair Trade Federation, “This commitment represents a high bar of fair trade, ..."
FAIR TRADE FEDERATION
The Fair Trade Federation is a community of verified businesses that are dedicated to holistic, 360° fair trade. Commitment to 360° fair trade means the entire business is socially and environmentally responsible in what they do. The Federation is part of the global fair trade movement, building equitable and sustainable trading partnerships and creating opportunities to alleviate poverty.
The Fair Trade Federation screens and verifies companies that practice 360° fair trade that essentially means verification doesn’t stop with the initial application. Deep annual reviews allow the FTF to stay in touch with members, learn about new projects, and investigate changes in fair trade practices.
Every year, FTF members submit updated financial statements and producer/supplier lists along with detailed information about how they meet two of the fair trade principles. In this way, each FTF member undergoes a full re-screening for all nine of the fair trade principles over five years of membership.
FTF verification is an important tool for retailers and their customers. Fair trade retailers can confidently vet products by ensuring they come from an FTF member business; If a business displays the FTF member logo, it’s meeting some of the highest standards in the fair trade movement. It’s a 360° fair trade business. (An easy way to check whether a business has been verified is to search for it at fairtradefederation.org/findmembers/)
Sustainable Threads has now been a member of the FTF for over 10 years now - renewing our commitment to fair trade practices each year.
FAIR TRADE PRINCIPLES OF THE FAIR TRADE FEDERATION
- Create Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers - Fair Trade is a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Members create social and economic opportunities through trading partnerships with marginalized producers. Members place the interests of producers and their communities as the primary concern of their enterprise.
- Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationships- Fair Trade involves relationships that are open, fair, consistent, and respectful. Members show consideration for both customers and producers by sharing information about the entire trading chain through honest and proactive communication. They create mechanisms to help customers and producers feel actively involved in the trading chain. If problems arise, members work cooperatively with fair trade partners and other organizations to implement solutions.
- Build Capacity- Fair Trade is a means to develop producers independence. Members maintain long-term relationships based on solidarity, trust, and mutual respect, so that producers can improve their skills and their access to markets. Members help producers to build capacity through proactive communication, financial and technical assistance, market information, and dialogue. They seek to share lessons learned, to spread best practices, and to strengthen the connections between communities, including among producer groups.
- Promote Fair Trade- Fair Trade encourages an understanding by all participants of their role in world trade. Members actively raise awareness about Fair Trade and the possibility of greater justice in the global economic system. They encourage customers and producers to ask questions about conventional and alternative supply chains and to make informed choices. Members demonstrate that trade can be a positive force for improving living standards, health, education, the distribution of power, and the environment in the communities with which they work.
- Pay Promptly and Fairly- Fair Trade empowers producers to set prices within the framework of the true costs of labor time, materials, sustainable growth, and related factors. Members take steps to ensure that producers have the capacity to manage this process. Members comply with or exceed international, national, local, and, where applicable, Fair Trade Minimum standards for their employees and producers. Members seek to ensure that income is distributed equitably at all times, particularly equal pay for equal work by women and men. Members ensure prompt payment to all of their partners. Producers are offered access to interest-free pre-harvest or pre-production advance payment.
- Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions - Fair Trade means a safe and healthy working environment free of forced labor. Throughout the trading chain, Members cultivate workplaces that empower people to participate in the decisions that affect them. Members seek to eliminate discrimination based on race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, age, marital, or health status. Members support workplaces free from physical, sexual, psychological, or verbal harassment or abuse.
- Ensure the Rights of Children - Fair Trade means that all children have the right to security, education, and play. Throughout the trading chain, Members respect and support the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as local laws and social norms. Members disclose the involvement of children in production. Members do not support child trafficking and exploitative child labor.
- Cultivate Environmental Stewardship - Fair Trade seeks to offer current generations the ability to meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Members actively consider the implications of their decisions on the environment and promote the responsible stewardship of resources. Members reduce, reuse, reclaim, and recycle materials wherever possible. They encourage environmentally sustainable practices throughout the entire trading chain.
- Respect Cultural Identity - Fair Trade celebrates the cultural diversity of communities, while seeking to create positive and equitable change. Members respect the development of products, practices, and organizational models based on indigenous traditions and techniques to sustain cultures and revitalize traditions. Members balance market needs with producers cultural heritage.