October is Fairtrade Month 2017 and the #EthicalHour tribe are working together to spread the word about who and where our products come from.
Fairtrade sets standards around the world for companies, farmers and workers which regulate the social, economic and environmental conditions involved in producing Fairtrade products and ingredients.
Fairtrade independently check that their standard have been met at all stages of the supply chain.
This includes payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Wage and an additional Fairtrade Premium – an additional sum which is invested in a communal fund for workers and farmers to use to improve their community.
When all the ingredients in a product that can be Fairtrade meet the required standards, the product can carry the Fairtrade Mark to show this.
Fairtrade also lobbies government to demand fairer treatment in trade deals towards farmers in developing countries and drive awareness with the public through a range of different campaigns like Fairtrade Towns and Fairtrade Month.
This October, #EthicalHour are working to raise awareness of Fairtrade and campaigning for fairer conditions for farmers, workers and companies around the world.
#EthicalHour is all about bringing together brands, bloggers and consumers to create and maximise our positive impact and create a more ethical world.
On Monday 2 October, we’re hosting a Fairtrade themed #EthicalHour Twitter Chat (8-9pm UK time), sponsored by members of the tribe with a Fair Trade focus. They’ve been sharing why they believe in Fair Trade and what it means to them.
Meet the sponsors…
Fair Trade Wales
Fair Trade Wales is the national organisation for Fair Trade education, policy, procurement, support and campaigning in Wales; the World’s first Fair Trade Nation.
Fair Trade Wales works right across society to engage and educate individuals about trade justice, and how making simple choices like choosing Fair Trade can have positive impacts on farmers and producers in the developing world.
We spoke to Fair Trade Wales about why they believe in Fair Trade, and they said:
“Fair Trade provides a tool for citizens to make a positive impact. Choosing to buy and use Fair Trade is a small change that can have huge benefits. Fair Trade provides a fair deal for everyone; from the producer to the consumer. As the quote goes ‘Every time you spend money, you are casting a vote for the world you want” (Anna Lappé), and Fair Trade makes it easier for consumers to cast votes, knowing that the logo ensures minimum standards, a fair price and an added premium.”
Fair Trade Wales also run a ‘Fair Trade is My Business‘ project. They offer a service to businesses in Wales which assists them in incorporating Fair Trade into their operations – from using Fairtrade tea and coffee in their staff kitchens, to using Fair Trade within their products or having Fairtrade uniforms. They can offer free procurement advice, resources and workshops to educate staff and help promote a business’s commitment to Fair Trade, and doing business the right way! If you’re interested in finding out more, get in touch with Ffion on firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about Fair Trade Wales, visit their website and follow them on Twitter.
Jewelled Buddha is a London-based ethical brand founded by Harjit Sohotey-Khan. Harjit is a self confessed “dreamer and wanderlust seeker” who gave up the 9-5 a few years ago to spend a year travelling across Asia.
Harjit told us how this was a life changing experience that completely shifted her perspective, as she realised she could make a difference to people in developing countries. This inspired her to set up her own business, Jewelled Buddha. Now she partners with social enterprises around the world, sourcing only from select, reputable businesses to create her beautiful collection of accessories and textiles.
The businesses and organisations she partners with share a commonality in their aim to preserve craft economies, incorporate good design and empower artisans.
All Jewelled Buddha’s accessories are handmade by artisans empowered by fair pay and opportunities to earn sustainable incomes to lift their life out of poverty or social inequality.
“It’s very important for me to know that the people who make our products are treated with the respect. I visited the social business we partner with in India earlier this year – House of Wandering Silk. It was great to meet the artisans and I loved talking to them to see how their lives have benefitted and improved. It was a privilege to experience their lives and homes for a couple of days. The ethics behind this translate to our products which are made of upcycled materials that reduce waste, are ethically handmade by women’s cooperatives and empower women from highly marginalised communities. Materials are locally sourced, use chemical free-dyes and preserve ancient crafting techniques which, due to mass migration, are under threat.
Fairtrade Month is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness, educate and take part in a dialogue of transparency and honesty with customers and say ‘this is who makes your clothes’. It’s a time to champion the skills of artisans, show customers that there is a huge variety of fashion out there that has been creatively put together by very passionate people.”
To find out more about Jewelled Buddha, visit their website and follow them on Twitter.
Where Does It Come From?
Where Does It Come From? is a UK based clothing brand offering high quality basics for adults and children. Their beautiful clothes are created in partnership with social enterprises and artisans – always according to fair trade standards and using sustainable production methods. Plus all their clothes are traceable too.
Their clothes come with their creation story. When they run a clothing production they also find out about the people – talking to them about their lives and work. Customers can then unlock their garment’s story using a code on the label. Where Does It Come From? believe that getting to know the people who made our clothes brings us closer to them and makes us love our clothes more as a result. Hopefully it inspires us to shop more ethically too.
Where Does It Come From? was set up by Jo Salter in 2013. ‘I’ve been involved in Fairtrade as long as I can remember so when I had children I was looking for ethical clothes for them and I wanted to be able to fully trace where they came from. When I couldn’t find any I decided to set up my own brand. We started with handwoven denim children’s’ clothes including jeans and jackets, and have since widened our range to include organic unisex shirts for adults and children, and handwoven, hand printed cotton scarves.’ The brand is currently working with the charity Proudly Made in Africa to set up a supply chain there and is also exploring the idea of using British wool to create a scarf that’s traceable back to the flock of sheep.
Jo has travelled to India to meet the co-operative workers who weave and spin the cotton for Where Does It Come From? and even had a go at spinning while she was there…. ‘Getting to know the people who make our clothes was such a pleasure and privilege. I really hope that taking away the anonymity of clothing makers can help build a closer relationship between our customers and their clothes. I also hope that they enjoy finding out about the garment makers’ life as much as I enjoyed experiencing it!’
Where Does It Come From? is an active member of BAFTS – the British Association of Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers.
Hedge and Hog Prints
Hedge and Hog Prints is a creative design studio which uses only recycled paper and packaging and environmentally friendly inks. Their mission is to connect people back with nature and they’re currently running a campaign ‘Tees for Trees’ with original designs on ethical t-shirts. One tree will be planted for every t-shirt sold to raise awareness of the environment and encourage ethical living.
Pragya, Founder of Hedge and Hog Prints, also runs ‘The Art Tiffin’, a social enterprise which encourages creativity and supports mental health through cruelty-free and vegan ethical art and mindfulness subscription boxes. She aims to raise awareness of animal products used in art materials and donates part of the profits to select mental health charities.
Pragya said: “We are passionate about raising awareness of social and environmental issues around the globe, and through our businesses, working towards creating a more positive and ethical world. We are conscious of the working conditions and do not use any materials that have not had a fair and ethical supply chain.”
The Ethical Jeweller
The Ethical Jeweller is the North of England’s leading supplier of Ethical Wedding and Engagement Rings. As both a Fairtrade Gold and a Fairmined Gold Licensee they know exactly where the gold for your Ethical Wedding Ring was mined and just how much of a difference choosing Fairtrade or Fairmined Gold makes to the Miners and their families.
Their goal is to meet every customer request with a viable ethical product or service. Currently, cost and availability prevents this from happening with the majority of jewellery pieces, but by lobbying and working only with suppliers who are ‘moving in the right direction’, The Ethical Jeweller aims to change this.
According to the Fairtrade Foundation, 90% of the labour force involved in gold mining is made up of artisanal and small-scale miners who produce between 200-300 tonnes of gold each year. Around 70% of this is used to make jewellery. An estimated 100 million people worldwide rely on small-scale mining for their livelihoods and to support their families and communities. Small-scale miners often work long days and in difficult and sometimes hazardous conditions.
For Fairtrade Gold, miners receive a guaranteed Fair Minimum Price and a Premium to spend on improving their businesses or on community projects, such as education, clean water and healthcare. Fairtrade certification means these small scale-miners meet Fairtrade Standards. The Standards include strict requirements on working conditions, health and safety, handling chemicals, women’s rights, child labour and protection of the environment.
#EthicalHour – supporting people around the world
At Ethical Hour, we provide training support and advice to help ethically-focused businesses and organisations grow. We create resources and campaigns to help people live and work more ethically, and we’re passionate about forming a community with positive impact.
We offer as much of this support as possible for free to make sure we reach and help as many people as we can. We do charge for some of our premium resources, as well as sponsorship and advertising opportunities, and this allows us to invest in growing the #EthicalHour network even further.
We’re also proud to support Lend With Care – a microfinance initiative which connects entrepreneurs in developing countries with people ready to invest in their businesses and help them grow.
We invest some of our profits in a Lend With Care fund, which we then use to invest in entrepreneurs looking for financial support. Once they repay their loan, we choose another entrepreneur to invest in, and the process starts again!
Thanks to our Fair Trade Month sponsors, We’ve been able to grow the #EthicalHour network further, raise awareness of Fair Trade around the world and invest our profits in another entrepreneur through Lend With Care.
Mr Me Van Thieng is a 50 year old farmer living in the Son La province located in North-East Vietnam. People there are facing many obstacles in their daily lives. To earn a living, Mr Thieng and his wife work on their farm – they have a small garden where they grow vegetables and sugar cane, but their garden is so small they can only grow enough for the family’s daily meals.
There is a rising demand for livestock products in the region and Mr Thieng wants to diversity his farm by adding livestock to breed. He has chosen to raise pigs because they are easy to look after. Once they are old enough he will sell them to the local market traders which will give him profits to continue to grow his farming business.
Mr Thieng requested a loan to buy the pigs and initial food for them. We invested in Mr Thieng’s farm in September 2017 with profits from our Fairtrade Month 2017 campaign.
(We support Lend With Care on an ongoing basis. Find out more about our ethical values and organisations we support here).
(Please note, #EthicalHour is in no way affiliated with the Fairtrade Foundation or other Fairtrade organisations – other than being a strong advocate and supporter because we believe in what they do!)