What it means to be Fair Trade
What it means to be Fair Trade
We work with lots of different artisans – from small not-for-profits to larger manufacturers who offer reliable employment to their local communities. We make sure all our partners provide fair wages and good working conditions for their employees.
Being a fair trade business means we conform to the 10 principles of fair trade throughout our entire supply chain, and means we're constantly trying to show transparency and improve.
We've been going a very long time, Ian has been visiting India since the days before there were even cars on the streets out there (you can read more about how we started here). This means that we have long standing relationships with many of our suppliers, some spanning over 30 years.
Fair trade is often promoted as helping small disadvantaged groups of artisans, and whilst we do work with some, we also support larger businesses who offer great working conditions for their employees, consistency of work and are reliable employers who pay the wages of thousands of people. It’s important to us that these businesses don't get overlooked when we talk about ‘fair trade’.
Below you will find more information about how we conform to each principle of fair trade
Opportunities for disadvantaged suppliers
We work with a about 80 different suppliers, all of whom vary in size. We give equal opportunities to all suppliers who show an outstanding level of fair trade manufacturing and are fighting poverty through trade. We work with not for profits, businesses providing work for refugees and larger organisations who provide consistent employment andwages to many workers.
Transparency and Accountability
We visit our supplier factories and obtain information from them relating to the working conditions and regulations of the work places they provide. When visiting the factories, we see products in production, the working conditions and health and safety practises. We provide supplier information for every product we sell and ensure we get to know and trust the suppliers we work with.
Fair Trade Practices
We pay what the supplier asks, and when it is asked for. Many suppliers require up front payment for goods at the time we place the order, this is so they can buy the materials and pay wages throughout the manufacturing process. We always ensure we pay the supplier whatever they ask, whether it be 100%, 50% or 30% advances, and for all orders we pay any remaining balance before the goods leave the country of manufacture. Often we can pay large advances and then wait between 4-18 months for the products to arrive.
We do not cancel orders, as soon as we approve samples and confirm our orders, the order is final, and not once in 41 years of trading have we cancelled an order.
We often receive faulty goods and more often than not we repair them in house, no charges incurred are charged back to the supplier. A few times we have asked for discounts if it seems care was not taken in the manufacturing process and it was obvious we did not receive what we paid for, but this is extremely rare (twice in 41 years).
We don't charge or request compensation for late delivery of orders, there are many eventualities that can result in order delays that are often out of anyone's hands, a longer than usual monsoon is a common reason for order delays as this means that wood and fabric products cannot dry out in the sun.
Promote Fair Trade
We try to promote fair trade as much as we can, through social media and our website. It’s finally becoming more recognised and is something that more and more people are aware of. We strive to keep spreading awareness and educating people on the importance of fair trade.
We do not quibble on price or ever ask for discounts or better prices, we pay the advertised price and never haggle.
No Discrimination, Gender Equality, Freedom of Association
All of the suppliers we work with employ both men and women of various religions. There is equality in the workplace and wage is decided based on skill, job requirements and experience.
No Child Labour, No Forced Labour
We ensure there is no forced or child labour in any of businesses we work with.
The suppliers we work with are keen to develop the skills and capabilities of the people they employ, providing training and constantly striving to ensure their business is growing and always providing job security.
Good Working Conditions
We visit our supplier factories and obtain information from them relating to the working conditions and regulations of the work places they provide. When visiting the factories we see products in production, the working conditions and health and safety practises. We provide supplier information for every product we sell and ensure we get to know and trust the suppliers we work with.
Respect for the Environment
We ensure we do not buy any plastic goods, we re-use all the packaging that enters our warehouse, and buy second hand boxes. We're constantly trying to seek more environmentally friendly ways to package our goods and always try to minimise on packaging. Additionally we have a compost loo at our office and warehouse, collect rainwater, have solar panels on all our warehouse roofs and have two wind turbines. We try to buy products which are made from recycled materials and ensure no harmful dyes or chemicals are used in the production of our products.