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​What 'Fair' Certifications Actually Mean

by: Rosie Dalton | 2 months ago | Features

Image: Sr Manoel, a cotton producer in Ceará, via Veja (which is one of our Fair labels).

 

Fairtrade is a term that’s used a lot in fashion, but also one which is often misunderstood. So what do Fair certifications actually mean?

According to the Fairtrade organisation, it means supporting farmers and garment workers to take control of their futures. “Fairtrade advocates for better working conditions and improved terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing countries,” the company explains. Which requires strict compliance guidelines and rigorous auditing.

Those better conditions mean that crop farmers and garment workers receive fair compensation and have access to a safe and healthy work environment. Something that is often not so easy to come by.

Fair certifications play into environmental and intersectional issues as well. According to the Pesticide Action Network (PAN’s) report, Is Cotton Conquering Its Chemical Addiction, the health of conventional cotton farmers is greatly compromised by the use of harmful chemicals.

Often marginalised groups like women and people of colour are particularly vulnerable throughout fashion supply chains, too. The Ethical Trading Initiative points to significant power imbalances between male supervisors and a predominantly female workforce.

Meanwhile, the PAN report shows that Africa accounts for 8-9% of the world’s cotton market. And, in Burkina Faso, 90% of pesticides are used in cotton. Here, economically disadvantaged workers sometimes have little choice but to work with unsafe chemicals.

This is where Fair certifications can provide assurance that workers have had their rights respected, in everything from wages, to work hours, and the safety of their work environments. Which is why Fair is one of our eight core values. To meet our Fair value, the brand’s major Cut Make Trim manufacturers must be accredited with a globally recognised, independent certifier like Fairtrade.

Because, as Fair brand Arc & Bow says, “partnership with each manufacturer means that together, we can ensure that business is conducted with respect for one another's cultures, with no room for discrimination of any kind within our, and their, supply chain networks.” ​

In related news, as part of our Afterpay Day Sale, enjoy 20% off all our Mane Project, fairly-made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, until this Sunday August 23 2020 at midnight.

 

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