USA · Call Us: 312-450-3270

What does it mean to be a Fair Trade company?

backstrap loom textiles

Yabal is a proud member of the World Fair Trade Organization and Fair Trade Federation, which means that our business is transparent, audited and certified as a social enterprise that places people and planet before profit. As such, we want to take this opportunity to tell you more about Fair Trade and what it means to us. First of all, this is what the Fair Trade movement is all about:

  • Fighting discrimination, exploitation and inequality
  • Fighting climate change

For the whole list of Fair Trade Federation principles, click here.

Let us start with the word “fair”, what does that mean? For us it means to achieve something whilst following rules and standards without an attempt to get an unjust advantage. For example: Maria gets paid fairly for the textile artwork that she makes; her wage is based on production costs, her skills and the amount of time and effort dedicated to creating the product.

However, Fair Trade is so much more than fair wages and what we aim to achieve with this blog post is to dissolve a few of the most common misconceptions about Fair Trade and explain what it means to be a Fair Trade organization.

First of all, many people tend to make a connection between charity and Fair Trade and this couldn’t be any further from the truth. If you were an IT consultant and we placed you in the jungle, you would struggle to find the connections you need to make a living based on your skill-set and you might start offering your services at a very low cost just to get some sort of income. This is what Fair Trade Organizations focus on; connecting skilled but marginalized producers with the global market, where there is a demand for their products, ensuring that the producers get fair compensation, but also providing technical assistance and other trade information with the aim to develop independence. It’s a trading partnership, based on mutual respect and reciprocal benefits. Yabal is a Fair Trade social enterprise, created for the purpose of providing Fair Trade jobs to Mayan rural women artisans based in the Western Highlands of Guatemala.

Yabal is part of a non-profit organization called Yabal Guatemala and this organization seeks funding and donations to support charitable projects, such as social programs implemented in the cooperatives and communities that we collaborate with, but the trading of goods is the key element of our work, with which we aim to promote positive and long-term socio-economic change and build self-sufficiency.

Another common misconception is that Fair Trade products are more expensive than other products. This is true if you have a Fair Trade product made from natural cotton, with ecological plant dyes and the producer got paid fairly for making the product and you compare that product with a product from H&M, for example, where the material used is synthetic (cheap, low quality, uses fossil fuels to produce = massive carbon print), the dyes are chemical (also cheap, and toxic waste from this dye is what is poured into the nearest river to the factory, poisoning the locals), and the person who made it is underpaid, the workplace unsafe or worst case scenario, a child made it for you. If you compare a Fair Trade product with another product of equal quality, you would find that there is not a great difference in price and furthermore, if it’s a Fair Trade product, the profit would go to the producers; farmers and artisans, without middlemen, whereas the profit from selling for example H&M products would go to foreign investors and shareholders.

I don’t know about you, but I would rather pay a little bit more, knowing that I am not contributing to the destruction of our planet, exploitation of people and making rich people even richer, whilst the poorer gets poorer.

Whenever you have the option- opt for Fair Trade!

Yabals weaving cooperative

Yabal’s weaving cooperatives are run collectively and price-setting and decision making includes all. Yabal focuses workshops and programs on women’s empowerment and business training.

Share this post
  , , , ,