Fair Trade is an organised social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries obtain better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as high social and environmental standards.
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.
Neema Crafts fits firmly within the fair trade criteria. We pay all our workers a fair wage, we provide many other additional benefits such as medical costs and access to physiotherapy and we provide good, safe working conditions. To be a Fair Trade organisation also means you need to have many management procedures in place, risk assessments, employment protocls etc. and most importantly ways for the staff to actively participate in decision making processes in the organisation. There are a huge amount of things that have to be in place to apply for Fair Trade status, just filling out the application form fills me with new respect for how thorough the criteria are and how trustworthy the label is!
In addition to all this, Fair Trade status requires you to assess your environmental footprint and to seek to be as environmentally sound as possible. We make as much as we can from recycled materials and constantly work to make Neema Crafts as environmentally efficient as possible. Our elephant dung paper products are probably some of the most Fair trade items you can buy; as well as all the materials used in production being recycled and our workers being from amongst the most disadvantaged in their community and being paid a good wage for their work, the tea waste we use to colour the waste paper pulp is actually the sweepings off the floor of a fair trade tea factory near by!
It makes sense for Neema Crafts to register as a fair trade organisation. We are being one anyway and this allows us to shout about it! It gives you, the customer, an assurance that we are doing what we say we are doing and that your spending really does benefit the most disadvantaged, because believe me, they are rigorous in their assessment of a place! It also opens new markets to us and helps us access advice and training in management, marketing and other areas. We officially become part of a large and growing force for good in the trading world.
Tanzania is underrepresented in the Fair Trade world and so we can also be trail blazers for others in this country, helping and making it easier for others to reach for the fair trade standards and improve their business and community service.
Neema Crafts is currently applying for Provisional membership of COFTA, the Fair Trade organisation for Africa who are part of WFTO (the World Fair Trade Organisation)
For more Info please read the 10 standards of Fair Trade from the WFTO.