20 Years of Fair Trade
We are happy to call Fair Trade USA a partner in our efforts to humanize the apparel industry and improve maker well-being across the globe. We kicked off our collaboration with the announcement of our work in India earlier this year. October is Fair Trade Month, so we wanted to take some time to highlight the work of Fair Trade USA and share why we like them so much.
First off, a brief explanation of what “fair trade” really means (because it’s probably even more impactful than you think). Not only is it a non-profit organization that ensures quality employment services and does facilities auditing, they also have something even more empowering called the “Community Development Fund”.
Brands (like us!) that choose to work with Fair Trade Certified factories pay an additional premium on all their purchases that goes into the Community Development Fund. In each partner factory Fair Trade USA helps establish a Fair Trade Committee comprised of democratically elected workers. This committee is tasked with making decisions on how to spend the money from the Community Development Fund.
Why is this so important? Workers get to choose how those funds can make the biggest impact in their livelihoods, as well as others within their community. Simply put, their voices matter. This breeds self-efficacy which is a crucial component to enabling people to change their circumstances.
A recent example: Our fair trade partner in India — Bestitch Knits — decided to put their Community Development Funds to use by creating a scholarship fund to help pay tuition fees for family members of makers. Awesome, right?!