The Fair Trade Furniture Company

Our key values:

* Create special products which people will cherish
* Make Fair Trade a way of life
* Minimise our environmental footprint
* Be honest and open in all our communications

We have deliberately called our company The Fair Trade Furniture Co Ltd' because Fair Trade is fundamental to our beliefs and values. But we are also committed to minimising our environmental footprint.

How do we prove this?

FAIR TRADE PRINCIPLES

There is no mark or label yet developed for furniture products, (although we are discussing this possibility with the Fair Trade Foundation). Until that becomes a possibility, we are using the criteria set out by the International Federation for Alternative Trade (IFAT) in their Code of Practice, as our guiding principles. We are an associate member of IFAT, and will become full members when we have completed sufficient trading to meet their full membership criteria.

IFAT's principles on Fair Trade are summarised as:

* To trade with concern for the social, economic and environmental well-being of marginalized producers in developing countries. This means equitable commercial terms, fair wages and fair prices.
* Unfair trade structures, mechanisms, practices and attitudes will be identified and avoided.
* To co-operate and not compete.
* To promote fair trade and social justice in the interest of the producer, and not to maximise profit at the producer's expense.

Specifically what this means in PRACTICE for our producers is:

* Payment of 60% in advance, allowing materials to be purchased, and wages to be paid from the start of production
* Payment of remainder when goods arrive safely in the UK (mainstream buyers wait 60-90 days before they pay for the goods received!)
* A fair price for the goods, the price being suggested by the producers, not by us as buyers
* Investment in social programmes (health and education) for the producers and their families
* Support for improvements to working conditions and facilities (e.g. sponsorship of new computer equipment to facilitate communications with the UK)

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