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What Is Fair Trade?

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We hear the term fair trade all of the time, but what does that even mean? With all of these different terms and certifications, how do we know what we are actually getting? According to, Fair Trade is a global movement made up of a diverse network of producers, companies, consumers, advocates, and organizations putting people and the planet first. The fair trade certification allows a customer to know at a moment's notice that they are making an ethical consumption decision without needing to do much research on the product they’re purchasing.

When you see a product with the Fair Trade Certified™ seal, you can be sure these products are made according to rigorous social, environmental, and economic Fair Trade standards. Also,  additional money from your purchase go to the workers in a beneficial community fund. Without an organization pursuing this sort of standardization, unethical labor practices would have the potential to run unregulated, and these affects would be felt globally.

All businesses that are Fair trade certfied are held to rigorous standards, which drive income sustainability, community and individual well-being, empowerment, and environmental stewardship. They include requirements around workers’ rights, fair labor practices, and responsible land management. These standards ensure that goods are made with care to people and the planet by providing regulations of fair treatment.

Fair trade certifications focus on four main areas:

  • Safe working conditions
  • Environmental protection
  • Sustainable livelihoods
  • Community Development Funds

Safe working conditions are maintained by laws and rules on health and safety, as well as establishing sustainable employment conditions for wages, leave time, social security, benefits and contracts. Environmental regulations are quite complex because they affect each aspect of the supply chain for such a large variety of businesses, and different country to country. To sell Fair trade products, farmers have to improve soil and water quality, manage pests, avoid using harmful chemicals, manage waste, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and protect biodiversity (4). Further, fair trade has practices in place to financially motivate companies to make ethical decisions via initiatives such as setting the price of organic cotton higher than non-organic in order to ensure more money from each sale ends up in the pockets of the farm workers (5).

In addition to these regulations, fair trade also directly financially contributes to the communities it practices in via its community development funds. This is a fund that the workers are allow to use to help benefit their lives. The funds are then invested depending on the current problems and needs community. This can be an issue as simple as providing bicycles to each employee, or providing day care or meals on the job (3).

Ethical manufacturing means a lot to us at Supra Endura, so we were more than happy to begin working with Known Supply, a company committed to fair trade and focusing on garment worker's rights worldwide. We’ve partnered with Known Supply to produce a line of GOTS certified organic fair trade tea towels manufactured in India.

Our tea towels start with the organic cotton that is woven into a tea towel weight. Once the fabric is manufactured, it is individually silkscreened to create the one-of-a-kind Supra Endura patterns. After that ithe fabric iis cut, sewn, and packed. We were so proud to partner with Known Supply's Makers on this effort; click about to learn more about each factory.

At Supra Endura, we have always felt that sustainability is about more than just fixing environmental issues- it’s also about the treatment of people, communities, and the workers that provide us with everything that we need. This pandemic has taught us how much we rely on a global supply chain, but it is important for us to understand the lives of the people who make our goods. We are so excited to have these fair trade tea towels and look forward to launching new fair trade products. 

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