Fairtrade Q&A

  • 24th February 2020

Here at BIDBI we love talking about Fairtrade, and we love talking to people about Fairtrade. So, we asked our Fairtrade certified suppliers a few questions to give you an idea of how Fairtrade benefits them.

When did your factory join Fairtrade?

1. We joined on 16th December 2013

2. We became Fairtrade Certified in 2008

3. We joined Fairtrade in the year 2011.

What were the reasons you decided to join Fairtrade?

1. By working with certifiers such as Fairtrade, we can promise our customers that we are doing exactly what we say we are, and we aren’t just greenwashing to make an extra dollar. This has allowed us to specialise in Fairtrade bags such as canvas tote bags and drawstring bags, which carry the Fairtrade cotton mark.

2. Fairtrade supports farmers to implement climate change adaptation measures. The Fairtrade Standards promote sustainable development through best agricultural practices, which not only guide producers to adapt to climate change, but also encourage them to mitigate their impact.

3. We joined Fairtrade to do business fairly. The supply chain ensures that each and every farmer and worker get fairly paid. It makes our business run smoothly; happy employees who are satisfied with their jobs make up a successful organisation.

 

How does it feel to be part of a Fairtrade community?

1. As a Fairtrade private label company set on producing the finest Fairtrade cotton bags, apparel, and accessories, we want to make sure our customers share our values, and to do that, they need to know what we believe in.

2. Fairtrade fashion is for everyone. Everyone should find brands and retailers that offer styles made with Fairtrade certified cotton. The additional money that factory employees they earn with every sale is used to fund important community development projects which benefit whole communities.

3. It makes us feel proud to be a part of Fairtrade, and part of a community of farmers, factories, and suppliers which all hold the same values as us.

How do your values as a business and Fairtrade’s values match up?

1. It is a vision that our staff and supporters are passionate about and focussed on working to achieve. As you would expect we believe in fairness, integrity and transparency in everything that is done in our name.

2. Fairtrade is more than just a different way of doing business. It shows we are also determined to stand up and challenge international trade, the poverty line, and help individuals struggling to provide for themselves, their families and their communities. And we want our staff to share those values and be the voice of Fairtrade.

3. As we are SA 8000:2014, ISO 9001:2015, OHASA 18001:2007, ISO 14001:2015 certified company. We pay our workers, staff, suppliers and our business partners ethically and fairly. We also make sure to protect our Environment and Human Resources.

 

What has changed since gaining Fairtrade status?

1. Fairtrade helps stabilise incomes; many families can keep their children in school. It provides supplies, scholarship programs and healthy meals. Fairtrade enables education for even the most outlying communities. Fairtrade impacts workers, farmers, and families in a positive way.

2. Fairtrade has changed much for our organisation- with the extra our employees earn; they have been able to buy chickens and pigs for their farms. 'Since we joined Fairtrade, everything has changed.’

3. We have been able to increase our business and therefore offer more work to individuals. Our scope has increased to gain more orders.

 

How has being part of the Fairtrade certification benefitted your employees?

1. Fairtrade puts workers first. By working closely with brands, factories and consumers, Fair Trade puts more money in the hands of workers and protects fundamental human rights. The Fairtrade Factory Program activates consumers - enabling them to vote with their money to directly benefit workers.

2. These standards include protection of the environment, workers' rights and the payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects. The aim is to use trade, not aid, to help small-scale farmers; one of the most marginalised groups in the world.

3. Our employees all receive a living wage, and we provide training for new starting employees, who may not be trained to work due to their circumstances. We also run primary and secondary schools and a college at a free or subsidised rate for our employees’ children who may have never been to school before.

 

What other initiatives do you do to make sure your employees are treated well and feel safe and secure?

1. We are WCA audited company, shared our audit report: Our Overall Facility score is 92%, whereas Global score is 78%, average industry score is 77% and average country score is 72%

This audit covers Wages and hours, Health & Safety.

2.

  • Inspect Workplace through audits.
  • Train Employees through agencies.
  • Keeping an Open Dialogue across our employees and management
  • Investigate Accidents.
  • Maintain Records.
  • Improving Health and Safety a Key Part of Business.

 

3. We are OHSAS 18001:2007 certified company for Occupational Health and Safety. Each and every employee gets an ESIC (Employees' State Insurance Corporation) including their dependent family members. Our next initiative is to build a world class hospital aimed at facilitating healthcare facilities to those in need at no cost. We also aim to provide medical education through the same institute to enable good quality of learning in the upcoming generation of doctors. We will provide this education at highly subsidized costs. We have already procured the land for this initiative and we are now working towards establishing beginning the building.

 

 

Do you do anything for the environment?

1. The company has installed solar panels for electricity generation, which has meant all lighting is run off solar energy. To reduce energy consumption, power saving motors have been installed which are a major part of the production process.

The conventional belt drive and clutch motors have been totally removed and a machine with servo motors have been installed. This has reduced energy usage by 25%. We have installed solar water heaters in the factory building which are used in ironing sections for steam irons to readily provide warm water for production of steam.

Almost 40% of production uses organic cotton or organic cotton blend with recycled polyester, to ensure that products don't have any major environmental impacts and are safe for our employees to handle.

The number of employees coming to work on bicycles is 90%. These cycles are bought from loans initially given by the company.

The company has an environment management system in place with environmental performance being reviewed periodically by the top management and also at the global level. Various broad level initiatives aligned with sustainability have been identified across the company. The focus is on reductions in energy consumption, GHG emissions, and water consumption, and targets for these have been set accordingly.

As a part of process innovation, the company eliminated use of corrugated boxes for packaging which would improve the environment by reducing CO2, emission and simplify the process of packaging. This also helps the customer as there is no need of waste management and reduced time for unpacking and less storage required. By changing the process more than 300 trees have been saved per year.

2. We are committed in minimising the impact of our activities on the environment.

The key points of its strategy to achieve this are:

  • Minimize waste by evaluating operations and ensuring they are as efficient as possible.
  • Waste from the process will not create any Water Pollution or Air pollution.
  • Cotton waste will be harmless to Soil, Water & Air of environment of the processing unit.
  • Cotton waste will be properly utilised.
  • Meet or exceed all the environmental legislation that relates to the company.

3. Yes, we plan programs to educate our workers and local people for saving our environment. We organise training program for workers. We have also implemented a Green Earth Initiative. We understand the importance trees have for the environment in cleaning the air we breathe and filter the water we drink. So far in this initiative we have planted more than 10,000 trees.