The last two weeks have seen the Fairtrade Foundation’s annual Fairtrade Fortnight highlighting the choice consumers have to choose food and drink that supports the communities in which they are produced.
As Green Tulip’s assortment focuses on gifts, there are few Fairtrade Foundation certified products available to us, but that does not stop us focusing on buying from suppliers who have a ‘fair trade’ policy. In fact, many of the suppliers we deal with have trading fairly as one of their guiding principles. In some cases these principles extend to profit sharing or producers working on a co-operative basis – both providing much higher job satisfaction.
This approach means that not only does the grower get a fair price, but the entire production chain – from processor, shipper, manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer – gets treated with equity and fairness too. This is something we think is really important.
Here are just a few of the stories behind the brands we sell…
Just Trade Jewellery – Peru
Just Trade was founded in June 2006 to provide a route to market for Zoe Creations, a struggling fair trade project in the shantytowns of Lima, Peru. The company was born out of first hand contact with real people in the developing world and the recognition that in order for such projects to be sustainable they need a long-term route to market for their goods. So, combining traditional craft skills and materials with expert knowledge of contemporary jewellery, Just Trade have produced a collection of beautiful crocheted brooches and jewellery made with care and skill from locally-sourced and ethical materials.
The women of the Zoe Project have been able to improve their homes, pay for medical treatment and educate their children. And rather than traveling great distances for long shifts in a factory, they can work from home, which makes a huge difference to the care the are able to give their families.
Here’s what Neri, who makes our crocheted silver jewellery has to say: “When I worked in the factory, I would leave the house at 7am, not returning until 10pm, and my children were alone all day. Now that I have the workshop in my home, I can be here for them, as well as earning the money for their education.” With the money Neri earns producing jewellery for Just Trade, she has also been able to pay off an outstanding debt, and save enough to buy a brand new prefabricated house, replacing the dilapidated plywood and cardboard structure she lived in before.
Lanka Kade – Sri Lanka
To everyone employed by Lanka Kade their work is about more than just toys. It is about giving real opportunities to real people to enable their independence and give them the ability to provide for themselves and their families with pride.
Lanka Kade’s Sri Lankan producers are independent businesses – most of which have developed from small family-run cottage industries. They are true artisans, skilled craftspeople in their own right, expanding to offer employment within their local communities.
Lanka Kade supports their development with continuity of orders, a fair price, financial and business training and advice, interest free loans and health and safety support.
Believe You Can – India
Believe You Can is a BAFTS (British Association of Fair Trade Shops) recognised importer, and their Fairy collection is exclusively designed in the UK and hand-made by WFTO (World Fair Trade Organisation) approved Fair Trade producers in India. Fair trade working conditions mean that employees have excellent and safe working conditions with an above average wage and equal pay for both genders as well as paid holidays, sick leave and sensible working hours. There is concern for the social, economic and environmental well-being of all employees and there is NO child labour or forced labour. 50% of the producers profits are used to set up and fund local community welfare projects including education and community health.
Believe You Can also gives 40% of its profits to its own trust which supports community welfare projects including education, community health, aids awareness and environmental projects.
uSisi – South Africa
The idea for uSisi (which means “sisters” in Zulu) Designs originated during the 1980s in the ethnic “homelands” of the old South Africa – the South Africa of apartheid and forced resettlement areas. Back then, the group’s founder worked with children suffering from disabilities, and found that most were also experiencing severe malnutrition as their parents could not provide for them.
Since that time, more than 100 women have worked with uSisi, earning enough money to put their children through school, build houses and keep food on the table. Currently 40 women from different cultural backgrounds work together to craft the groups’ innovative products. The artisans come into the workshop once or twice a week where they receive their raw materials and instructions. They then return to their homes to make the jewellery, where they can also look after their children and households and save money by not travelling every day.
Pebble – Bangladesh
All Pebble products are made by Hathay Bunano – a non-profit, fair trade organisation in Bangladesh. It’s mission is to create fairly paid, good quality, flexible and local employment for rural women who are poor and often disadvantaged. So when you purchase a Pebble product, you are helping women in Bangladesh support their families and keep them together.
Hathay Bunano now employs over 5,000 women in 52 different regions of Bangladesh, and handmade products are still at the core of the business. The employment is very much community based – rural jobs that are paid fairly and are flexible as well as being within a 5-10 minute walk from the womens’ homes.
We hope you enjoyed reading more about some of the people who make our products and how by trading with them is helping build a better life and improve communities. Head over to our website here to find more lovely gifts that have lots to give to both you and our producers.