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What is Fair Trade and what is your Fair Trade premium?

Fair Trade is an ethical alternative to popular trading methods used by most multi-national corporations where the workers at the lowest level are squeezed in order for the purchasing company to make larger profit margins. Instead, Fair Trade employs a method of commerce that insures that the people producing the goods are paid a fair wage and are not subject to sweatshop conditions. The Fair Trade mission is to create a sustainable income and lifestyle for the world’s typically poor and disadvantaged producer groups, usually located in developing world countries, in order to alleviate global poverty and empower communities. Fair Trade is not charity or a hand out; it is a vital way of doing sustainable business on an equal platform with a fair exchange

There are a number of Fair Trade certification entities around the world that work to ensure that products with a Fair Trade label are truly upholding the social, economic and environmental standards typically associated with Fair Trade practices. Our producer groups are certified by the Fair Trade Labeling Organization (or FLO), which is an international entity based out of Europe. FLO’s standards for Fair Trade include:

  • All workers are paid a living wage
  • No child labor
  • All workers have access to health care
  • Piece rate workers receive comparable benefits and pay to full-time workers
  • The work environment is safe and healthy
  • No forced overtime
  • No harassment or discrimination
  • There is development and educational potential
  • Workers have the right to associate and collectively bargain

In addition to these standards, we pay an extra premium for every pair of shoes we sell that is collected into a worker’s welfare fund. This premium is 20% of our cost (FLO only requires 15%) which is used to improve the socio-economic conditions of our workers, their families and their communities. The fund is administered in a transparent and democratic manner and workers decide jointly with management how to use the funds at the end of every year. Learn more about our 2007 Fair Trade Premiums.

If you're running into any trouble or have a question, please contact us.