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Transparency and Accountability: Fair Trade Principle #2

Part of a series explaining the nine principles of the Fair Trade Federation.

Fair trade principle #2-transparency & accountabililtyI worked for corporations for 20 years before launching my fair trade business. I still value the experience gained and relationships made.

What I don’t miss, however, are the turf wars.  People were guarded about who they told what, fearful of relinquishing control over their work.  There was no sense of “we’re in this together.”

There are no turf wars in fair trade. Communication channels are clear and accessible at all levels in the supply chain.

I work most often with fair trade wholesalers. They’ve been open and honest from the outset about how their products are made, how they treat their artisans, their product materials, and much more. We know without saying we’re working for a common good.

This sense of community is reflected at the artisan level as well. The wholesalers treat the artisans as partners, not employees. They include the artisans in design and business decisions and communicate with them regularly throughout the year.

They go above and beyond by providing food and clothing to the artisans and their families. Sometimes they even pay for schooling for the artisans’ children.

On my end, I work to maintain honesty and transparency with my customers. I encourage any and all questions. Every product I sell includes the story of the artisans who made it. I believe operating with integrity and authenticity promotes my business far better than any marketing strategy can.

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