“Fair Trade certification is governed by different auditing bodies depending on the type of organization. There is a factory certification offered by the American governing body which certifies manufacturing facilities all over the world.
A starting point to understanding Fair Trade is by studying its 10 universal governing principles,” explains Sonica Sarna, founder and CEO of global sustainability consultancy Sonica Sarna Design and long-time advocate of Fair Trade practices.
She further explains, “In a manufacturing set-up, when a factory is Fair Trade certified, a brand pays a percentage of the product price for the welfare of the workers. The money goes into a separate bank account and these funds are managed by a democratically elected worker committee.” The money collected by the committee for her workers was utilized to buy home-sewing machines as that was the collective desire of the workers. “In keeping with the principles of Fair Trade certification, any brand working with us keeps aside a percentage of their money to go directly to the workers, for their welfare, autonomy, and to work towards a common goal which they can choose themselves.”
Sarna ends by explaining why she believes this practice is the future of trade, “One of the reasons I’m a strong supporter of Fair Trade certification is because most of what we consume is made by unseen workers that come from poor or underrepresented communities.
Fair Trade is a way for them to have representation so they can put forward their demands. Many of us would prefer to follow ethical practices but are unaware of what goes on behind the scenes. This measure ensures that we know what we are wearing hasn’t been made in sweatshops. We can also be assured that there are far fewer human rights violations, and far less cultural appropriation during the production process.”