Rapanui is an Eco-Fashion company from the Isle of Wight, that makes Organic, Ethical clothing using Renewable Energy with award-winning traceability. Rapanui is about making eco-fashion cool.
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The International Fairtrade Certification Mark is an independent certification mark used in over 50 countries. Their mark appears on products as an independent guarantee that disadvantaged producers in the developing world are getting a better deal.
There can be no doubt that Fairtrade has made a massive contribution to social sustainability. Fairtrade has raised awareness of the unfair demands being placed on third world farmers by wholesalers who pressurise farmers to sell their products for the lowest price possible, and taken the conversation into the mainstream.
Fairtrade is about the farmers, field workers and producers. At Rapanui we started working with suppliers that took the manufacturing side (the factory workers) into account by working with Fairwear Foundation (more below), but as we've grown we have begun to think about how we will use our resources, as a larger company, to effect the lives of the people at the far end of our supply chain. The growers and pickers of cotton in the field.
The Fairtrade Logo
Most of these farmers, already poor, are driven into sustained poverty and given no fair opportunity to work their way to a better life, but instead are caught effectively on a treadmill.
Whilst Rapanui does not yet manufacture it's own Fairtrade Certified products as yet, we have begun to work with a number of small Fairtrade suppliers to introduce limited edition Fairtrade products to our range. Keep an eye out for the Fairtrade mark next to these products in our online store this year, and for more news on Fairtrade as we grow.
What does the logo mean?
The Fairtrade certification ensures that the supply chain of the cotton has been audited independently and that the farmer has been paid a fair price under fair terms and conditions of the sale of the goods. This allows the wholesaler, and retailer, the opportunity to leverage an advantage in the marketing and sale of their products – in turn monetising the benefit of ethical trade.
Furthermore, the inspection process and certification automatically creates a level of traceability within the supply chain, which is an essential building block for sustainable business.
The Fairtrade labelling initiative allows customers and distributors alike to track the origin of the goods to confirm that the products were really benefiting the farmers at the end of the supply chain.
For a product to carry the Fairtrade Certification Mark the crops must be grown and harvested in accordance with the International Fairtrade standards. The supply chain is also monitored to ensure the integrity of labelled products. Only authorized licensees can use the Fairtrade Certification Mark on their products.
How about the factory workers?
Fairtrade is particularly relevant to food crops where the risk of unethical labour practices centres around the field and farm. In textiles, more of the labour is concentrated in the manufacturing stage – ginning, cutting and sewing of clothing products - Fair Trade is really about a different issue. When growing Organic Cotton, the Soil Association and Global Organic Textile Standard mark guarantees that strict social sustainable criteria have been met in the field. So for now we believe that the Fair Wear Foundation mark is the most suitable guarantee that the product is related to improving fair and ethical labour practises in themanufacturing stage - however, keeping an eye out for the Fairtrade logo is an added bonus, meaning that the origins of the fabrics have also come from socially responsible economies.
Fair Wear Foundation
Fair Wear Foundation’s code of labour practises was designed specifically with the textiles industry in mind. Most of our key lines are made by manufacturers which qualify for this mark.
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