Our goal is to only offer products for which no beings are exploited. That’s why we are mindful that our goods are not only vegan but are also produced under fair conditions.
We are fully aware of the fact that the fair trade concept is interwoven with the capitalist system. However, we think that it is more acceptable that people receive relatively higher wages, are not stopped from organizing themselves and that certain social and environmental standards are guaranteed, even when the broader framework is to be critcized.
You can find a summary of the social and environmental standards that apply to our product range below.
Our textiles are produced by Continental Clothing Company from Great Britain. All their clothing items are certified by the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF). The Fair Wear Foundation is a multi-stakeholder initiative from the Netherlands which aims to improve the working conditions in the textile and clothing industries in the affected countries. A multi-stakeholder initiative is an organisation which consists of companies, unions and non-governmental organisations (NGO). Companies joining the FWF accept the FWF code of labour and commit to enforcing these standards at its suppliers. The FWF code of conduct is oriented at the core norms of the international labour organisation (ILO) (german) and the Clean Clothes Campaign's (CCC) code of coduct.
The ILO is a of the United Nations with the aim of promoting human rights, worker’s rights and social equity. The core norms are based on four basic principles: freedom of association and to the right to bargain collectively, abolition of forced labour, abolition of child labour and prohibition of employment and labour discrimination. These core norms are also part of the CCC code of conduct. Furthermore minmal standards regarding wages, working hours and working conditions have to be complied with. It is essential that these demands also apply to the contractors of the signatories and that compliance with them standards is examined externally.
The implementation of the FWF code of conduct is a joint process by FWF and the participating companies. It is therefore possible that at the time of a company’s access to the FWF,deficiencies in the factories are noted and have to be resolved. The FWF regularly publishes reports on the individual companies. Moreover, it has cooperations with local actors (employer’s associations, unions, NGOs) in the production countries and develops an appeal system. The companies must examine its production (internal monitoring) and are additionally examined by the FWF (external verification). In contrast to other labels which only examine the production of a company’s specific product (e.g. Transfair), all products of a company must be certified by the FWF.
A weak point of the FWF certification is the (to date) insufficient consideration of the supplier companies (all prestages of cotton production and processing). Regarding this point, pilot projects are run at the moment.
Most of the shoes we offer come from Vegetarian Shoes. Vegetarian Shoes is an English company and produces its shoes in European factories (e.g. Portugal and Poland). The Fair Trade label only applies to business relations with so-called developing countries so that there is no explicit certification.
100% of our cholocate products are fairly traded.
- The producers have to receive a fair trade premium in addition to the minimum price. This premium is used by producer organisations fund to collective projects, such as the construction of schools.
- Environmental standards limit the use of agrobusiness chemicals and support the farmers’ sustainable production efforts.
- The producers receive a pre-financing payment for their harvest of 60% of the contract price
- Prohibition of forced labour and illegal child labour
Does fair always mean fair?
Many textile producers have introduced their own labels and external examination companies so that they can advertise fair labour conditions. However, there are serious gaps between the codes of behaviour and their actual implementation. For example, Fruit of the Loom is controlled by Cal Safety Compliance Corp (CSCC) but at the same time the CSCC is paid by Fruit of the Loom and the examination does not consider local and external unions or NGOs. Many NGOs criticise the CSCC for being insufficiently transparent, their status as a company and especially the fact, that they fund the organisations which examine them.
How fair is fair?
The questions by which income level a living wage is defined and whether securing of livelihood means a just and sufficient payment level is a dilemma. In 2007 the FWF introduced a “wage ladder”. In this system, the paid wages are classified depending on the country and its poverty line, minimum and fair wages and good examples of other companies and it is planned that they reach the highest level of the ladder step-by-step. The FWF and its social code vary in their degrees of cooperation with NGOs (e.g. the Clean Clothes Campaign), the implementation obligations of the companies and the external examinations of other social standards.
The Wage ladder