Hi, friends! Thanks so much for stopping by to learn more about Kantha Bae. It means the world to us! We wanted to take the time today to share with you how we uphold the Principles of Fair Trade.
The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) is a wonderful group committed to ensuring that so-called ethical and sustainable companies are true to their word. Kantha Bae is not yet certified as a Fair Trade Organization, as it is a long process to be approved, but we’re still very committed to upholding the 10 Principles of Fair Trade. Here’s how we ensure that these principles are achieved and maintained.
Principle One: Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers
Poverty rates are high in many countries, including two that Kantha Bae’s partners and suppliers are located in. According to the World Population Review, India’s poverty rate is 21.9 percent, while Bangladesh’s is 24.3.
Kantha Bae’s very first supplier was Basha, a company that provides dignified work to women in Bangladesh. KB has also partnered with an amazing team and many families in Northern India. We’re incredibly honored to work with such creative, gifted, and beautiful souls. It isn’t something we take for granted.
Principle Two: Transparency and Accountability
The WFTO believes that a Fair Trade Organization must maintain open lines of communication with all its employees, and we completely agree! The relationships we have with our partners runs very deep. We are personally involved in the lives of our suppliers, which ensures that a high level of communication is always present.
We believe it’s important to be completely transparent with not only these suppliers, but with our lovely readers and shoppers as well! Your support does not go unnoticed, and our honesty is the least you deserve. We are proud of Kantha Bae’s story and hold nothing back when it comes to transparency.
Principle Three: Fair Trade Practices
This article revolves around the principles of fair trade, but the term “fair trade” might not have an obvious meaning to all of our readers. According to the WTFO, it means an organization has “concern for the social, economic, and environmental well-being of marginalized small producers, and [a commitment to] not maximize profit at their expense.” Kantha Bae is dedicated to maintaining this concern and commitment, as explained under the other nine principles.
Principle Four: Fair Payment
NPR recently reported on a young woman from Bangladesh who worked twelve hours a day at a garment factory before becoming unemployed because of the pandemic. She earned only $95 per month, which was just enough to support her parents, sister, and disabled brother. Unfortunately, garment workers across the globe are in similar situations. Most don’t make enough money to support themselves, despite the amount of hours they work per week.
This heartbreaking statistic is being challenged by Fair Trade Organizations across the globe. Here at Kantha Bae, we ensure that all our brand partners, both domestic and international, are paid fair and liveable wages.
Principle Five: Ensuring No Child Labor or Forced Labor
Kantha Bae does not employ or partner with any person below the age of eighteen, nor any person who does not want to work. We respect and care for the freedom and safety of our parnters. It’s as simple as that.
Principle Six: Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity, and Freedom of Association
According to the Washington Post, “India’s modern women say it’s a ‘burden’ to be female.” Gender stereotypes are taught to and internalized by girls in this country at a young age. These girls are trained to live with the fear of what might happen if they speak up or think for themselves. They learn that it is their job to keep the peace, to be mothers, to sacrifice, and to give. They don’t learn about the power of stepping into their potential. They aren’t given the okay to be true to themselves.
It’s a similar story for women in Bangladesh. According to NYU, “women in Bangladesh are dominated by a [patriarchal] system, which enforces the social and economic dependence of women on men.”
Luckily, there are forces pushing against these systems. Kantha Bae provides women with not only jobs, but with the strength and confidence they need to overcome these harmful stereotypes.
Principle Seven: Ensuring Good Working Conditions
A good workplace is essential to better mental health and productivity. In fact, the Harvard Business Review claims that “550 million workdays are lost each year due to stress on the job” and “more than 80% of doctor visits are due to stress.”
We always make an effort to ensure that our partners are working in clean and safe environments. A portion of the proceeds from our Open Hands Line goes back to India to provide any needs of the families we partner with. Recently, a major need has been more land to expand operations.
If our partners have needs related to making their work environment better, safer, and healthier, we never hesitate to help out where we can.
Principle Eight: Providing Capacity Building
It’s important for any business that workers develop the skills and capabilities needed to do good and enjoyable work. For this reason, we communicate daily with our teams to ensure community needs are being met. If they aren’t, we provide training for our partners wherever it’s needed or resources that better the workflow of our team.
Principle Nine: Promoting Fair Trade
We know it isn’t enough to simply maintain sustainable and ethical practices if we want a future for our beautiful planet and fair living conditions for people across the globe. Unfortunately, there are still lots of brands out there who don’t share the same goals as Kantha Bae and other Fair Trade Organizations. We know that in order to do all we can to ensure the safety of earth and its people, we must speak up about the importance of fair trade.
Our story is the heartbeat of Kantha Bae, and therefore at the forefront of everything we do. We’re proud of our goals and accomplishments and want to inspire others to follow in our footsteps. For this reason, we use community platforms to encourage the consumption of slow fashion over fast fashion , partner with like-minded brands, and lead by example in the fashion industry.
We hope this inspires you to spread the word about fair trade principles as well. It can be difficult to shine our light on this world by ourselves, but it’s entirely possible when we come together with a united cause and a purpose.
Principle Ten: Respect for the Environment
We love our planet to bits. Earth is a special place, and Kantha Bae is committed to treating it with the love and respect it deserves. For this reason, we work with upcycled and pre-loved fabrics, actively try to limit the waste we produce in any way possible, use natural dyes to color our items, and do our very best to stay sustainable within each step of production.
Thank you, beautiful friend, for taking the time to read up on how we uphold the Principles of Fair Trade. It means so much to us that you’ve decided to be a part of our journey. Your support gives us the courage to do what we do.
Now it’s your turn! Don’t be afraid to go out there and stand up for what you believe in. Use that beautiful voice you were gifted with and keep shining your light on the world!