Fair Trade Verification
2022 was an exciting year for our team and our partner farmers — we became members of the Fair Trade Federation! This was a huge accomplishment for us, achieved after many months of completing an extensive application process, auditing our operations, and formalizing our policies. But what does this mean for us, for you, and for the farmers in Moreau?
What does fair trade mean?
According to FTF, fair trade is “an approach to business and to development based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks to create greater equity in the international trading system.” Organizations like ours uphold fair trade values by partnering with “farmers and craftspeople in developing countries who are socially and economically marginalized” and helping them reach new markets for their goods.
What is fair trade verification through the Fair Trade Federation?
The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) is a global network of “fair trade enterprises fully committed to equitable and sustainable trading partnerships” and endeavors to create equity, justice, and dignified livelihoods for all. Fair trade verification means that a company has demonstrated its commitment and ability to uphold the nine Fair Trade Federation Principles at every step of its operations.
How did we become members of the Fair Trade Federation?
We spent much of 2022 completing the detailed application process to earn this status. The Fair Trade Federation reviews and approves all aspects of our business — including our business interactions with the farmers in Haiti, payment processes, sourcing of other materials, accountability for our impact, and much more. This process has also helped us structure our work to ensure we maintain our values as we scale. We are proud to formalize our way of doing work with outside review from a reputable fair trade organization.
Why did we pursue fair trade verification for our company?
For us, fair trade verification is both a celebration of our progress so far and a humble rededication to the values that have brought us here. Since 2016, we have proudly partnered with farmers in Moreau to grow a poverty-free Haiti, starting at the root. From vetiver grass to beekeeping, we have spent the last six years supporting these rural farmers as they develop sustainable agricultural practices that protect the environment and create new income opportunities in their community.
As with our public benefit corporation status, these outside verifications of our business are important to us and represent a rededication to our values. We are excited to continue growing our company, our relationships, and our impact over the coming years — and recognize the thoughtful steps we must take to ensure this growth happens ethically and sustainably for the communities and partners we work with.
Now that we are members of the Fair Trade Federation, will anything change in our operations?
Our membership in the FTF does not change how we do our work — but rather, given the FTF’s reputation for ethical labor, fair prices, economic development, and environmental sustainability, this verification serves as third-party mechanism to ensure our company is accountable and transparent in all of our practices — to the benefit of both the farmers in Haiti and our customers across the US.
We look forward to all of the new opportunities to grow our company and strengthen our relationships with farmers in Haiti now that we are members of the Fair Trade Federation. Ultimately, we strive to increase justice, knowledge, and sustainability in Haiti and around the world and will continue to seek out partnerships, certifications, and accountability measures to ensure we accomplish that in everything we do.
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