What it means to be Fair Trade certified

What it means to be Fair Trade certified

At Betterfelt, our mission extends beyond just making great footwear — We also want to better the world and honour the traditions and lives of the artisans who make our outstanding products.

That is why we are deeply committed to our status as a Fair Trade certified company. To us, it is not just a title, it’s at the core of our culture and how we operate our business.

What is Fair Trade?

Fair Trade certified businesses are part of a global community that puts people and the planet first.

The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) defines Fair Trade as:

“Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South.”

This is a globally recognized definition, that’s agreed upon by the main international Fair Trade networks (WFTO, Fairtrade International and the European Fair Trade Association).

 The Fair Trade commitment highlights the need to change the practices of conventional trade and shows first-hand how successful business can also put people first. It’s also a tangible contribution to the fight against poverty, climate change and economic crisis.

How did Betterfelt become Fair Trade certified?

Betterfelt is Fair Trade certified under Fair Trade Danmark, a national Fair Trade network recognized by the World Fair Trade Organization. Like all other official Fair Trade organizations, Fair Trade Danmark is also signed on to the International Fair Trade Charter.

As members of the WFTO, Fair Trade Danmark and its members adhere to its Ten Principles of Fair Trade and work to support their aims. Like all Fair Trade Danmark members, Betterfelt went through a certification process that verified their business adhered to those principles and is audited every two years.

The prinicples are:

  • To create opportunities for financially weak producers
  • Transparency and responsibility
  • Responsible trade practices
  • Fair prices
  • Avoid child and forced labour
  • Anti-discrimination, equality and freedom of association
  • Healthy and safe working conditions
  • Augmentation of capacity
  • To further fair trade
  • Sustainable environmental administration

How is Betterfelt Fair Trade Certified?

Since the beginning, Betterfelt has embraced the whole value chain. We strive to make great products while providing a fair outcome for all our employees.

We own our production facility together with our Nepali partner, Sabina Matangi, so we can ensure that our business is operating fairly and sustainably.

Our artisans (almost all female) earn a salary equivalent to a male skilled worker or public teacher in Kathmandu. They get 34 paid holidays and an extra month of salary during their festivals in the autumn. They also get 10% on top of their salary that is put into a savings account. We also pay for the education of our employees' children, with all employees receiving a cash grant for each child equivalent to the cost of public school.

This mindset extends to how we source our materials too. We have chosen to source our wool from New Zealand where the animals and the environment are treated fairly and sustainably.

Betterfelt is also actively involved in promoting Fair Trade practices outside our own business. One of our owners, Liz Wirth, is a board member of Fair Trade Denmark.

“Our main reason for being in Fair Trade business is for the good of those living in poorer countries so that they can get a fairer share of the pie,” says Liz. “The other way we can help is to raise awareness in our communities of Fair Trade and what it means, in order to increase the volume of Fair Trade sales overall. The higher the sales of Fair Trade products, the better livelihoods will be in developing countries. It is part of our values and goals to try and increase awareness and sales of Fair Trade products.”

At Betterfelt, Fair Trade is more than the certification— It’s our way of doing business.

When you wear our products, you will not only look good, your heart as well as your feet will feel good, too.

How do you know if a product is Fair Trade certified?

Consumers today care about where products come from and how they are made. This is great to see, because where you spend your money sends a powerful message to businesses. Purchasing Fair Trade certified products is a great way for consumers to know their money is being spent on businesses that are fair to both people and planet.

Some companies use the words “Fair Trade” without receiving an official designation. It is not to say that they are not operating in a fair way, but there is no one auditing them to make sure that they are. With much production in the world not being fair with profits taking a priority over the livelihoods of employees and the environment, only by buying from companies that are Fair Trade certified can you be certain that you are making a positive difference.   

The good news is that there are ways you can verify that a product is truly Fair Trade. One way to do this is to look for an official logo from a reputable Fair Trade network. When you see this logo, you know the company meets the Fair Trade standards, practices and principles mentioned above with third parties making audits.

As another check, you can look on the World Fair Trade Organization website to see if the company is in their database and in the case of Fair Trade Danmark, you can check on their website to see if the company is a member.

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