Celebrating Innovations in Fair Trade!

Posted: Tue. May 07, 2019

The Fair Trade Federation celebrates innovative business and product solutions that support people and planet!

Learn how a few fair trade enterprises are innovating to empower women, develop unique products, create economic opportunities, and combat climate change.

Fair trade enterprises are committed to empowering women globally because all women should have an equal opportunity to realize their potential.

Passion Lilie is providing unique economic opportunities to women in India through their new job training program, which started on April 20th of this year. Every three months, they take on a new trainee who will receive free job training and a long-term, fair trade job opportunity. Their priority is to invest in training more women in India, whether or not they choose to work with Passion Lilie later, though each trainee will be offered a job after completing the program. The first trainee, Geetha, worked as an assistant tailor for many years, but she remained an unskilled worker and earned as little as 8,000 rupees, or around 115 U.S. dollars, per month. During training, she will receive 13,000 rupees per month and can earn an even higher wage after finishing the program, allowing her to support herself and her family.

Himalayan Naari is revitalizing traditional woolen crafts in three remote villages, tucked into the Indian Himalayan mountains. Through this regeneration of knitting and weaving practices, over 100 Naari artisans are improving their lives and strengthening local communities while creating a sustainable global business. The women of Naari create beautiful handmade products by combining traditional techniques and natural materials with modern designs. The artisan knowledge passed down from generation to generation is now being shared with the world. In April of this year, Himalayan Naari held a health camp, where they tested the nutritional and health status of all of the Naari artisans, and started a food supplementation initiative for malnourished, pregnant, and nursing women.

By innovating to empower women, FTF members are leading by example to create a fairer society for the next generation.

Fair trade enterprises place the interests of producers and their communities as the primary concern of their enterprise.

WorldFinds has a holistic business approach in which all are paid a living wage, have safe working conditions, access to healthcare and childcare, and on-going training and education. They have been working with many groups for over a decade, during which many artisans have lifted themselves out of poverty and even launch their own successful businesses. For World Fair Trade Day, WorldFinds is working with their artisans partners to launch a new collection of bracelets. The Cause Connection Bracelets are delicately beaded, stretchy styles each connected to a cause. The causes they benefit include funding cancer research, educating girls, cleaning oceans, empowering women, rescuing animals, providing meals, supporting U.S. veterans, and promoting equality.

Dunitz & Company supports the fair trade community through actively raising awareness about fair trade and FTF members. They are helping to promote fair trade through on-going blog writing, directing buyers to many fair trade enterprises. Without sales, these businesses cannot do what they do best: sustaining the artisans and farmers they’ve worked with for so many years. Dunitz & Company has posted several gift guides featuring FTF members and has also interviewed several FTF store owners and managers, all of which can be found on the Dunitz blog.

FTF members are growing artisan and farmer businesses, strengthening communities, and creating positive change in everything they do by innovating to support and create economic opportunities.

Fair trade enterprises are dedicated to creating unique products that sustain relationships with artisans and farmers and allow their businesses and communities to flourish.

Seed to Sew International is improving the lives of women and girls in impoverished communities through education and job-skills training. The artisans in their programs in rural Kenya learn how to sew by making beautiful Enkiteng Bags, which provide them a sustainable income. They sew the bags out of donated, upcycled fabric in many patterns and colors. Designed to be sustainable gift-wrapping bags, they can also be used as traveling bags, laundry bags, pillowcases, lunch bags, and more.

Zambeezi Organic Beeswax Lip Balm recently launched a new flavor, the Honeybalm™. Through honey’s humectant qualities, the balm naturally absorbs moisture to keep lips hydrated, soft, and soothed. Honey and beeswax typically resist each other like oil and water. After years of tests and experiments, they discovered a way to integrate these two incredible skincare ingredients. Zambeezi partners with the North-Western Beekeeper’s Association in Zambia, a network of over 1000 beekeepers, to source high quality ingredients and to create more opportunities in the communities with which they work.

FTF members are able to reach new and wider audiences, create higher demand for fair trade products, and affect more lives around the world with their innovations in product development.

Fair trade enterprises are leaders in upcycling and the circular economy through their commitment to cultivating environmental stewardship.

GOEX works to provide fair wages and high quality products throughout their supply chain and recently added recycled polyester to their signature tri-blend t-shirts. Every Tri-Blend T-Shirt contains the equivalent of around 6 plastic water bottles. GOEX believes in the ability to change the course of lives through a simple decision like choosing a t-shirt. Perhaps most importantly, their partnerships set an example in the marketplace that can affect systemic bottom-up change through the dignity of work.

Mehera Shaw is a fair trade lifestyle clothing manufacturer specializing in hand block printing techniques. In India, toxic dye residues find their way into fields, streams, and crops; Mehera Shaw is combating pollution such as this by using sustainable fabrics and low-impact dyes in their line of clothing and homewares. They also recently built an impressive artisan-friendly water filtration system for their facility outside of Jaipur, which reduces their water use by up to 80 percent. The system removes the dye residue, and the water is recycled and reused for fabric washing. 

By innovating to sustain the planet, FTF members are raising the bar in action against climate change.

To learn more about innovations in fair trade, explore the 250+ FTF member enterprises.

Cover photo by Zambeezi Organic Beeswax Lip Balm

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