10 Principles of Fair Trade

The 10 Principles of Fair Trade, set by WFTO, are what comes naturally to us. We want to create a fairer world for everyone to live in, and we think the 10 Principles explain exactly how we think this can be done.

1. Create Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers

This means supporting marginalised, small producers, whether these are independent family businesses, associations or co-operatives. It seeks to move towards a secure income, self-sufficiency and ownership.

2. Transparency and Accountability

Communication must be open at all levels of the supply chain and management and commercial relations transparent. Being accountable to all stakeholders and appropriately involve employees, members and producers in the decision-making processes.

3. Fair Trading Practices

This means trading with concern for social, economic and environmental well-being of marginalised small producers, and not maximising profits at their expense; conducting all trade in a fair and transparent way; protecting cultural identity and traditional skills.

Gone rural artisan with placemats

4. Payment of a Fair Price

A fair price is mutually agreed by all involved through dialogue and participation which provides fair pay to the producers and can also be sustained by the market.

5. Ensuring no Child Labour and Forced Labour

Adhering to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and national/local laws on employment of children; ensuring there is no forced labour in its workforce, members or home workers. Any involvement of children in the production is always disclosed and monitored and does not adversely affect the children’s well-being, security, education and need for play.

Happy lady making placemat for Ethical company Gone Rural

6. Commitment to Non-Discrimination, Gender Equality, Freedom of Association

No discrimination in hiring, remuneration, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, HIV/Aids status or age. Gender equality is promoted and ensures that women are given opportunities, full employment rights and full statutory employment benefits and receive equal pay for equal work. All employees’ rights are respected to form and join trade unions of their choice.

7. Ensuring Good Working Conditions

Providing safe and healthy working conditions for all, working hours and conditions comply with national, local and ILO conventions; raising awareness of health and safety issues to improve practices.

African artisans carrying handmade placemats

8. Providing Capacity Building

Increase positive impacts for small, marginalised producers through Fair Trade; developing skills and capabilities of its employees or members.

9. Promoting Fair Trade

Raise awareness of the aim of Fair Trade and the need for greater justice in world trade.

10. Respect for the Environment

Maximise the use of raw materials from sustainable managed sources and buying locally where possible; reduce energy consumption and use renewable energy when possible; use organic or low pesticide production methods wherever possible; use recycled or easily biodegradable materials for packing and goods despatched by sea wherever possible.

The above list is a reduced version of the 10 Principles of Fair Trade. To see WFTO’s full list, please visit their website here: http://www.wfto.com/fair-trade/10-principles-fair-trade

BAFTS logo

How it all began…

I grew up in South Africa – a beautiful country with so much to offer. Except to me (at that time) it didn’t offer what I really wanted – the ability to travel freely and easily around the world.

Cape Point – South Africa

So at the tender age of 20 I upped sticks and moved to the UK with the intention of working for a year or two to save money and then backpack around the world. The best laid plans of mice and (wo)men…

Eventually I did get to travel though. Somewhat differently and later than I expected but indeed did I travel! In 2013 I set out on bicycle with my partner with the vague plan of heading East and seeing how far we got.

Cycling in Albania

Almost 2 years and over 20,000 km’s later we arrived at our final destination – Thailand. It had been a life changing experience and one that I would never change for the world! Now that we were back however I began to wonder, ‘What next?’.

It seemed obvious that I should combine my true loves.

  1. Beautiful crafts – Growing up in South Africa I have always been surrounded by amazing hand made goods from wire and bead work to woodcarving and painting. It helped that my mother was an artist too!
  2. Travel – I would always gravitate to the markets on our travels, and much to my partners disgust I would normally walk away with some small (mostly!) memento from our travels. Although he drew the line at getting a Shyrdak from Kyrgyzstan – I’m not sure how we would have travelled with a large felt rug on our bicycles!
Kyrgyz Shyrdak
The beautiful Shyrdaks from Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

But it’s not all about me. Sure, I want to make a living, but more importantly I want to make a living that isn’t at the expense of others or the environment. We live in a world of fast and cheap fashion with people thinking very little about how or where things are made or what happens to it when they are done with it.  And trying to change peoples outlook on this is another one of my passions.

So that is how I decided what I wanted to do next. Use my experiences from the markets of carpet sellers in Iran, and the scarf weavers in Laos and the bustling hawkers on the street corners of South Africa and bring all the amazing crafts from around the world together in one space. A space defined by it’s ethics as much as its beauty. And so Karakorum was born.

Laos weaver
Scarf weaver in Laos

I hope you join me on my travels along the still existing and still mysterious trade routes of the world.

Unusual persian carpet
I did however get a carpet in Iran!