Fair Trade clothing

Many of the clothes that we buy in northern countries are produced cheaply in southern countries. Often workers suffer from poor conditions and are badly paid. 

If fashion clothing is to be truly sustainable, it has to be fairly traded. This means that the clothes – and the textiles they are made from – have been made and traded under good social and economic conditions.

Some products that are fair traded carry a label to say so. One of these is the ‘Fairtrade’ label. According to The Fair Trade Foundation, this guarantees that the goods come from:

Fair trading relations, including:

  • a price that covers the cost of production

  • a bit extra on the price, which can be used to invest in the community

  • partial payment in advance, to avoid small producer organisations falling into debt

  • contracts that allow long-term production planning

  • long-term trade relations that allow proper planning and sustainable production practices.

(Source: www.starfishfairtrade.co.uk, 21st September 2004)

Fair production conditions, including:

  • for small farmers’ co-operatives, a democratic, participative structure

  • for plantations/factories:
    – decent wages for workers (at least the legal minimum)
    – good housing for workers, where appropriate
    – minimum health and safety standards
    – the right to join trade unions
    – no child or enforced labour
    – minimum environmental requirements.

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