How to be Fairtrade certified when you are a textile brand?

How to be Fairtrade certified when you are a textile brand?

In this new Fair Trade Week, we also wanted to bring our little stone to the building…
Because every little action counts. Our dream would obviously be for as many textile brands as possible to become Fairtrade certified, because it is for us a non-negotiable standard to pay people who work and bring real know-how with dignity (and even beyond). We are all human beings and that every person has the right to live in good conditions. Whether it’s day or night! This is our mission and we will not deviate from it!

After that, this necessary little introduction… Let’s start at the beginning!

What exactly is Fairtrade certification?

Fairtrade (formerly MaxHavelaar) is one of the most international and certainly the best known fair trade labels. Everyone knows the logo with the little black/green/blue human being on Fairtrade coffee and chocolate for example. Originally THE fair trade label for everything related to food, it is now the only fair trade label that also certifies cotton.

Does a product called Fair Trade mean that it is Fairtrade certified?

A Fair Trade product does not mean that it is Fairtrade certified. Fairtrade (in a word) is a label registered by Fairtrade International and which certifies, through a certification body called FLO-CERT, that all actors in the value chain are Fairtrade certified. However, there are also other fair trade labels that do not work with cotton.

What does Fairtrade cotton certification mean for a brand of bed linen or textile linen in general?

When a textile brand decides to certify itself as Fairtrade, it must show white paw, i.e. it must peeled its products and its entire supply chain in order to be able to go back up the chain to the farmers who have grown the fair trade cotton used in its clothing, or other household linen, for example. Everything is checked during audits carried out by Fairtrade directly, which will or will not give you its label depending on whether their standards are met.

In our case, for Kalani, this process was quite simple since we are one of the few textile brands in the world to buy our raw cotton directly from the cooperative and therefore know exactly who produced it, where and at what price and with what impacts.

How does a Fairtrade certification audit work?

We talk to you about our experience, but logically, it is the same for all brands and companies.
An auditor comes to inspect our offices and warehouse and analyses the products, the flow of goods but also the values, communication and all our actions. The auditor will also check that our entire supply chain is certified (farmers, organic cotton cooperative, ginning unit, spinning mill, weaving mill, dyeing mill, garment factory and logistics warehouse), this control is essential to ensure that the quantity of Fairtrade cotton sold corresponds to the quantity officially sold by the producers and, therefore, to avoid fraud. FLO-Cert also verifies of course that our farmers are well paid at the price of organic cotton + the Fairtrade Premium set by Fairtrade International, even if in our case we buy our cotton 13.5% higher than the Fairtrade Premium.

We are also checked on sales volumes and values to calculate the Royalties we pay to Fairtrade Belgium. The way we communicate is also checked, the use of logos and messages must be consistent with the approach. We are in regular contact with Fairtrade, to provide them with content, validate ours and help each other. So it’s not just a logo on communication media, but also teamwork and that’s normal when you work on the community and human aspect. What is important is to increase commitment so that everyone pays farmers better. And this applies to both our European farmers and those of the world.

How much does a Fairtrade certification cost?

This brings us to the question of the budget. Because yes, Fairtrade certification has a cost and not only the more obvious one of the higher purchase cost of raw cotton and finish product.

A Fairtrade certification costs between €500 and several thousand euros per year depending on the size of the company. This budget includes both certification and what to do about its implementation. Product labels, communication in general, validations, audits… Depending on the number of products, communication media, people working in the company, this can therefore vary. To this cost must be added the Royalties on each product sold. Indeed, for each product sold, a certain percentage of almost 2% is also donated to Fairtrade Belgium.
It also allows Fairtrade to develop its work in the field (information and training) and to expand its awareness, consumer engagement and communication activities.

A budget that is worth it when you know the sometimes titanic work that it can represent and the fair trade journey that still has to be covered in the world…

Fairtrade for organic cotton home linen how does it work?

In our case, 100% of the organic cotton used by Kalani is Fairtrade certified cotton.
This means that for every kilo of cotton bought by Kalani to make its cotton home linen, the farmers who grew it were paid at least the Fairtrade Premium price set by Fairtrade International.

This Fairtrade Premium (extra cost compared to the cotton price set by the New York Stock Exchange) is calculated each year by Fairtrade International, but in our opinion it is not high enough, and not often enough revised. That’s why we pay more than Fairtrade Premium.

And because we want to do things even better…

As we have already explained in other articles… Kalani is part of a coalition of other small and medium-sized European, American, Japanese and Australian brands.
Thanks to our association, we collaborate and buy all our cotton in the same cooperative. This allows the cooperative not to be dependent on a large brand that could change its source at any time. This also allows a regular flow of orders. It is therefore more reassuring and sustainable for everyone.

This system is quite unique… And for the moment, it is proving itself quite well.
Also, to go even further, we have collectively decided with the cooperative to pay our cotton 13.5% above the official Fairtrade Premium.

It’s obvious to us, and it’s transparent to you!

Kalani decided to certify itself Fairtrade well before buying or selling any product.
The choice was obvious, because it was the only way to be able to communicate clearly and transparently about our field work with the farmers who grow our beautiful cotton and about the fact that they are being paid properly and with dignity, even if our objective remains to continue to increase their remuneration as they go along.

On the other hand, this choice was also a way to make the market, our dear customers, our competitors, and all the people we meet online or at events understand that it is possible today to make top-of-the-range high quality cotton bed linen, wonderfully comfortable, sustainable and finally affordable. All this while respecting:
• the environment (cotton and certified organic GOTS product),
• people (Faitrade cotton),
• animals (products approved Vegan by PETA).

We militate and defend these values in which we believe, but we also support Fairtrade Belgium and Fairtrade International for their work in raising awareness among the public, governments and international institutions in this process.

So that’s also where some of your money goes when you buy your Kalani products… and this, in all transparency.

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