What is Fairtrade?
Fair trade is a term given to describe the trade relationship between developed countries and producers and farmers in developing countries in which fair prices are paid to producers. The International Fairtrade System is the largest and most widely recognised global organisation in place to revolutionise the way that trade is carried out around the world.
Since the Fairtrade foundation was established in 1992, there are now over 1.65 million farmers and workers around the world generating over £775 million in sales revenue from Fairtrade products. The Fairtrade foundation is focussed on securing better prices and working conditions, as well as fairer trading terms, for farmers and workers. It also ensures that consumers know where their product comes from and that it has been ethically sourced, with nearly 80% of consumers more likely to buy a Fairtrade product than its non-Fairtrade counterpart (GlobeScan, 2016).
How can you become Fairtrade Certified
In order to carry the Fairtrade mark on your products you must meet the Fairtrade Standards. This entails forms and contracts that need to be completed throughout the supply chain demonstrating that you are trading with integrity and fairness, operating within environmental and labour laws and transparency of transactions. This process is different depending on the type of product you want to become Fairtrade.
First of all you will need to apply for a licence which is an agreement between you and the Fairtrade Foundation. Once you have this license you then need to submit supply chain and ingredient information and then certify your products. You need to also ensure that all of your packaging and marketing materials are displaying the Fairtrade mark in the right way, and more importantly for the right product. You will be penalised for making unsubstantiated Fairtrade claims on your products. You can find much more information on this process on the Fairtrade website.
How can our customers create a finished Fairtrade product?
Here at Stephenson Personal Care we manufacture unfinished products as our customers add their own additives and ingredients to make their own finished product. We are allowed to sell his base to a certified Fairtrade manufacturer of soap and it is possible that a Fairtrade end product can be made, providing that the additional ingredients are all Fairtrade too.
If we were to operate outside this rule, we would likely lose our licence. FLOCERT is a certification and verification body set up with the main duty of certifying Fairtrade products. We are audited by FLOCERT to ensure we are sticking to these regulations.
At this current moment in time, we only have one product that is Fairtrade certified, however we are looking to develop this into a whole Fairtrade range in the near future. We are celebrating a recent success of passing our annual audit and are looking forward to developing new products that are certified by Fairtrade standards.
It is becoming more and more important to consumers that they are assured the items they buy have been sustainably and ethically sourced. This has led to Fairtrade developing into a huge global movement in the last twenty or more years. A lot of the ingredients and oils we use in our soap bases come from natural sources, such as shea butter, sunflower oil, palm oil and coconut oil. Where possible we always choose sustainable ingredients. We work closely with other organisations such as RSPO, EcoCert and Soil Association to ensure we can trace the supply chain and use high quality ingredients.
We see it as our responsibility to make a switch to a more sustainable future within the personal care industry and this has prompted us to creating our first Fairtrade product. We are working on creating new products to be Fairtrade certified as well as converting existing products to Fairtrade where possible.