Initially the phrase- same same but different springs to mind. Both organisations guiding principle is to ensure that the people who play their part in producing the products and garments we buy are treated fairly and remunerated appropriately for their work. However, they both focus on differing aspects of the supply chain.
Let's take Fairtrade first. Many people see the above logo and automatically associate it with coffee beans. The reality is that Fairtrade work across a wide variety of sectors including the banana, cocoa, coffee and cotton industry. Their primary aim is to secure a fair deal for small farmers and producers when they sell their produce to large companies.
A product that carries the Fairtrade mark has been produced according to international Fairtrade standards. In other words, it was produced in a socially and economically fair and environmentally responsible manner. It means it also included payment of what is known as the Fairtrade Minimum Price and Fairtrade Premium. The former covers the cost of sustainable production for a particular product, e.g. cotton, in a particular region, e.g. India. It acts as a crucial safety net for farmers and workers, protecting them from market fluctuations. Whilst the latter is an additional sum of money that workers and farmers receive. It goes straight into a communal fund and is used to improve the regions social, economic and environmental conditions.
Lastly, Fairtrade is 50% owned by farmers and workers representatives. This helps to ensure that both farmers and workers have a strong say in the overall decision-making process.
Fairwear meanwhile, is chiefly concerned with the working conditions of manufacturing workers in the garment industry. Acceptance of the below labour standards is a pre-requisite for membership:
- Employment is freely chosen
- There is no discrimination
- There is no exploitation of child labour
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
- Payment of a living wage
- No excessive working hours
- Safe and healthy working conditions
- A legally binding employment relationship
In collaboration with their 140+ member brands, Fairwear engage directly with factories, trade unions, NGOs and governments to stitch together a reality in which fashion is fair for everyone. Central to this are the third-party checks the Fairwear Foundation conduct across three specific levels. The first check takes place at the brand level- current business practices and management decisions are scrutinised to ascertain which are likely to lead to issues down the line at the factory level and which are positively contributing to better labour conditions. The second is at the aforementioned factory level, where an independent spotlight is placed on working conditions. To finish, the voice of garments workers is sought in order to rubber-stamp the credibility of the previous levels.
Staying true to the collaborative approach, the board is evenly comprised of both business associations and trade unions and NGOs. By engaging partners at every level; from the boardroom down to the factory floor, Fairwear seek to make the greatest impact possible.
Currently all Fódla garments are Fairwear certified. Moving forward it is our hope that we can find suppliers who are both Fairwear and Fairtrade approved. We promise to keep you all up to date on any and all progress we make in this pursuit to offer the 'fairest' of garments.