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Fair Trade, Eco and Ethical

General Information

What is Fair Trade?

Fair Trade means giving producers a decent price for their work, ensuring that working conditions are safe, with adequate heat, ventilation, etc. avoiding the exploitation of children, women and other oppressed groups and trying to ensure that trade benefits the community as well as the individual. By buying our products, you are participating in this process. Read more >>

How can you be sure that your products really are Fair Trade?

Many of our overseas suppliers are either members of WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization), or have been recommended to us by other WFTO members.We have either visited them ourselves, or they are visited regularly by larger Fair Trade organisations which have the resources to check on Fair Trade standards in detail.

WFTO members, including ourselves, complete a detailed self assessment of performance against Fair Trade standards every 2 years. This is sent to stakeholders such as suppliers and buyers for comments, in a process called Mutual Review. In addition, 10% of self assessments are chosen at random each year for external audit.

Some of the crafts we buy from UK suppliers would be described best as "ethically traded” rather than "fairly traded”.
This means, as a minimum, that they comply with international laws (eg minimum wages, trade union representation, no child labour). Fair Trade goes further than ethical trade - it not only complies with legislation, it proactively tries to deal with
those at the bottom of the social ladder, to increase their skills and bring them out of poverty.

Other products are sold for their environmental criteria, generally because they are recycled.

How does Shared Earth decide who to buy from?

The aim of Fair Trade is not just to pay fair wages, but to buy from those who are most in need. Shared Earth has many suppliers overseas, most of which are organisations working with craftspeople who are struggling to find markets for their
products. Without marketing assistance many of these craftspeople would have few or no opportunities for employment. The organisations which export their products, which are often non-profit making, usually also provide job training and
development, business advice and technical support, moving artisans from unemployment to skilled employment. Some of our suppliers also specifically work with those who are disadvantaged because of disability, gender or ethnicity; but for Fair Trade, the only other opportunity for income for some of these people is begging.

Isn’t importing goods from around the world harming the environment?

This is a tricky question, and the answer has to be, to some extent, yes; ideally we would buy all the things we need locally. So we try to reduce the carbon footprint of the products we sell to a minimum. We import almost everything by sea, and only
travel ourselves by air on long flights. Shipping from South America is actually less harmful, environmentally, than importing by truck from southern Europe!
We emphasise sustainable materials, as opposed to products made with synthetic materials or, for instance, hardwoods. Many items such as all of our handmade paper and several of our textile ranges are made from recycled materials.

Our larger suppliers generally have excellent waste management systems, and packaging is minimised, and usually made from recycled and/or easily biodegradable materials.

How can I join your mailing list?

Take the link to 'Join our Mailing List' form and click 'Subscribe'.
We will send you regular newsletters containing offers, promotions, company news and details of new products.

Will you pass my details on to any 3rd party?

Shared Earth will not pass information to third parties other than when order details are processed as part of the order fulfilment. In this case, the third party will not disclose any of the details to any other third party.