Fair trade is about helping producers in developing countries through a market based approach. It is about guaranteeing that standards are being implemented regarding working conditions, wages, child labour and the environment.
But for us it’s more than just meeting the standards that are set. It’s about helping women so that they can work and providing the support they need to enable them to be able to work. Whilst the vast majority of our production centres are in villages in rural locations, we also have a centre in a slum area of Dhaka and here we have a creche and a pre-school so that women with children can bring their children with them and they will be cared for and educated while their mothers are working. It’s about having a doctor associated with the centres so that women can access reliable healthcare when they need it. It’s about helping women get their children into school when they are old enough to go; helping them fill out the forms if they are illiterate or semi-literate and going with them to the school to ensure the application is safely received and processed. It’s about using the facilities we have to help them, like downloading and printing the school books for them from our head office at the beginning of the school year. It’s about being there for the women when they need a little extra help and support whilst at the same time respecting their choices.
25th September 2018
Fair Trade Charter Launch
The Fair Trade Charter is being launched today and is a collaboration of all those in the fair trade movement. It works to transform trade in order to achieve justice, equity and sustainability for the people and planet and that has never been more applicable and necessary as now.
The fair trade movement shares a vision of a world in which justice, equity and sustainable development are at the heart of trade structures and practices so that everyone, through their work, can maintain a decent and dignified livelihood and develop their full human potential. The fair trade charter seeks to bring all the actors in this movement under one guiding mission and aims to support the work of fair trade organisations and facilitate collaboration through a shared philosophy.
Markets are typically dominated by a handful of international firms who have the power to set the terms of trade for their suppliers, forcing prices down, often to levels below the full costs of production. This leaves small producers and workers struggling to earn a living wage and vulnerable to exploitation. We see this on a daily basis in the garments industry in Bangladesh, where large international brands dictate the market and the pricing and the wages of the garments workers are continually squeezed. Only this week there have been protests in Bangladesh for an increase in the minimum wage but we only really hear about this on the global stage every year at the Fashion Revolution events or when there is some terrible disaster like the Rana Plaza collapse.
We hear all the time about how the richest 1% own as much wealth as the rest of the world but we so often think that we are powerless to change this. This is not true. We all have power. If we all use our power collectively then we can make real change for the better. The Fair Trade Charter is a way to bring us all together so that we all use the power we have to cumulatively effect change to a more fair and sustainable world.
18th October 2016
Anti-poverty week – my perspective
This week is anti-poverty week. It runs from 16 – 22 October. For the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) and its members it is an opportunity to promote the 10 principles of Fair Trade. It is a time to explain and show how these can be used as a means to eradicate poverty. The first of the new 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is NO POVERTY.
My perspective on poverty eradication
It is really interesting and exciting to me that we are talking about the eradication of poverty. Twelve years ago when I started Hathay Bunano (HBPS), the non profit organisation that makes the Pebble toys, with my husband, Morshed, people used to ask me what is HBPS and what do we want to do. I would very boldly and bluntly say that we wanted to eradicate poverty. This drew a mixed reaction. People from the general public who were not involved in international development would be impressed but caution that this was a huge task. At the same time they would encourage us and say that it was a commendable goal.
People from within the international development community would smirk in a knowing and condescending way. Then they would go on to explain that the whole international development community had been working on eradicating poverty for decades and still hadn’t done so. As such they thought it highly unlikely that we would achieve this. At one point a kind and well meaning professional from the international development community took me aside and said
‘You know Samantha, maybe you should talk about reducing poverty, not eradicating poverty. It makes you look silly when you talk about eradicating poverty because everyone knows its not possible.’
We must start with great goals
But I always believed it was and that we should aim for it. Particularly in Bangladesh, on so many occasions I would explain how the fundamentals of the country were such that we should be able to see the eradication of poverty as a possibility in a fixed period of time. And here we are, 12 years later, with the first SDG being NO POVERTY and we are all talking about eradicating poverty and even putting a timeline on it. I don’t feel so silly any longer!
In order to achieve great things we must start with great goals. When we start they may seem impossible but day by day we take small steps, mostly forwards, but sometimes sadly backwards as well, but we never give up and before you know it you see how far you have come. In everything we do in life we must start with great goals.
Role of Fair Trade in anti poverty week
WFTO believes that the principles of Fair Trade are effective overarching tools to fight poverty. At HBPS we strongly agree with this and this is why we are full and guaranteed members of the WFTO. Fair Trade enables us to use the huge power of business and global trade to tackle poverty. It creates a much more direct route from consumer to producer. It offers a transparent supply chain. If you want your consumer dollars / pounds / euros to create the most effect in poverty eradication then buying Fair Trade products is the most effective route.
Of course, still not all products that you need to buy are available in a fair trade option and that is something that all of us in the fair trade community are working hard to rectify. But thousands and thousands of products are available and many of them now are available not just in specialist outlets but in mainstream stores.
At HBPS we strongly believe that all trade should be fair trade and we absolutely believe that we can eradicate poverty in this generation. We hope that you will all work with us towards this by buying fair trade products where you can and by talking about fair trade with your friends and relatives and by sharing the fair trade message.
FAIR TRADE = NO POVERTY
13th January 2016
Fair Trade Guaranteed
We are so delighted to have been awarded WFTO Guaranteed Fair Trade status at Hathay Bunano. There are only 20 WFTO guaranteed members in the whole of Asia and so we are very proud, happy and humble to be one of those. If you want to buy crochet and knitted toys that are guaranteed fair trade then Pebble are the only ones in the world at the moment.
WFTO introduced the Guarantee system in 2014 as a revolutionary new system to ensure fair trade throughout the supply chain in a way that is credible, clear and affordable. Only organisations which have been audited for the Guaranteed system are allowed to use the WFTO Guaranteed Fair Trade logo on their products. You can read in depth about the system and the components it requires on the WFTO website.
Fair Trade makes a very real difference to the lives of those who are working in these supply chains. We cover the stories of artisans working with Hathay Bunano and making your Pebble toys regularly on this blog and are always delighted by all your responses to them. When you buy products you can choose to make the world a fairer place and the huge global consumer market shows just how much power consumers have. As a consumer you make the world a better place by looking for the logo and buying from WFTO guaranteed members and we are delighted to partner with you in this process.
Thank you so much to all our wonderful customers for continuing to support Hathay Bunano and Pebble, to all the wonderful people at WFTO who have helped us along this journey, to the wonderful artisans of Hathay Bunano, to the distributors and retailers of Pebble toys, and to all our colleagues in the fair trade space – we could not have done this without you.