The Fairtrade logo is a globally recognised symbol for ethical trading and commerce. To use the most apt words from Fairtrade International themselves, “It’s all about making trade fair”. This means making sure products adhere to internationally agreed Fairtrade standards which ensure workers and suppliers are treated ethically. Central to these requirements is a guarantee that workers are paid a fair price. This is a crucial aspect of the Fairtrade system which most of us are probably already familiar with.
What can sometimes be overlooked is the breadth of what the Fairtrade logo means. Fairtrade is of course about providing a fair price but it’s also about ensuring other key social, economic and environmental standards are met. This is essential in helping communities to build a strong and sustainable economic base from which to survive large scale disasters such as the pandemic.
The knowledge that our baby alpaca clothing and homeware is ethically sourced in this way forms the foundation for our values at TUWI.
In line with these values, what does the Fairtrade Logo mean for TUWI products?
At Tuwi, we choose only to work with Fairtrade suppliers so that we can support communities in Peru from where we source our baby alpaca wool. This involves working directly with local collectives in order to produce our ethical clothing and homeware. Most recently we have been working with a small rural collective to produce our new embroidered Christmas decorations. This initiative trains local artisans in ancestral embroidery techniques which helps the community to build a more stable economic base.
Our diligence with regards to how and where our products are produced also contributes to the traceability of our alpaca wool clothing and homeware, and this is something which is symbolic of what the Fairtrade Logo means for Tuwi. We are able to trace the life of our products from the very beginning, with the alpacas themselves who provide us with the softest and most luxurious wool….
And this brings us onto the next aspect of what the Fair Trade Logo means for Tuwi, which is sustainability. Baby alpaca wool is actually far more environmentally friendly than other wools for a number of reasons. To start with, alpacas, unlike other livestock, do not damage the ground they graze. Gentle in nature alpacas are kind to their local environment and produce a far higher ratio of wool than other animals (up to 16x more than a goat). Whilst sheep’s wool often requires treatment which uses hazardous chemicals to remove impurities, baby alpaca wool is naturally hypoallergenic and so requires zero artificial treatment. In line with Fairtrade International’s encouragement of sustainable production methods, TUWI always opts for the most eco-friendly processes.
These factors are essential to ensure the products we provide to our customers are always ethical. We always pay a fair price for our products and are invested in supporting the communities from whom our business stems from wherever possible. This involves a range of factors from supporting the local collectives which we’ve mentioned previously to choosing the most sustainable production methods we can.
We’ve recently written about what social responsibility means to TUWI so you can give it a read if you’d like to learn more. Here you’ll be able to learn more about our Fairtrade principles and how we have responded to the Coronavirus pandemic.