Fair Trade Principle Eight: Providing Capacity Building
Friday, 2 August 2019 | Joanna
Our suppliers work with their producer groups on a long term basis. This means that they don't simply buy what's fashionable or popular at the moment, but encourage producer groups to build on their existing skills - giving advice, training and support to create goods we want to buy. Fair trade buyers don't abandon their suppliers when their goods aren't popular, but try to make them more attractive to customers through changes in design, packaging or using the same skills to make something that is popular. It is also important to fair trade organisations that some of the money from the goods sold is used to increase employment, passing on skills to the next generation, and giving careers to people who want to progress.
A great example of this is the supplier for our range of recycled aluminium. Azeti, our original supplier, was taken over by a new owner, who was already part of the UK Fair Trade Network and working with producers in Kenya and Vietnam. This was their first time working with producers in India but they had some great ideas to build on the success of the existing range. Working with watercolour artist Meg Hawkins they created a whole new range not only of recycled aluminium products but the boxes they come in. They abolished the plastic bags which the Indian producers had been using to package the goods, focused on design and opened up a whole new market for these gorgeous products. The producers have increased the number and skill level of their staff, and are meeting the challenge of greatly increased orders. Everyone's happy.