What is Fair Trade?
At Gallant International, we focus on three things:
Creating beautiful products
Purchasing the best high quality materials that don’t harm our environment
Paying our workers superior wages for superior quality
The reason we are able to stick to our mission is because we are FairTrade and Organic certified. By working with certifiers, we can promise our customers that we are doing exactly what we say we are, and we don’t greenwash to make an extra dollar.
But what exactly is Fair Trade, and why do we believe in it so much? It’s a term that gets thrown around a lot and can be controversial at times, with many critics saying that it doesn’t actually benefit workers. Because the Fair Trade economic model is at the heart of our mission as a social enterprise, we wanted to give you a history of the movement, why we chose to become Fair Trade certified, and how Fair Trade actually does make a difference in the lives of millions of cotton farmers in India.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair trade is the solution that makes a big difference in the people who grow and make things we love. Fair trade organizations help set standards to alleviate the poverty and exploitation of farmers and workers by providing better wages and reforming work conditions.
Fair Trade today is a global movement that impacts over 1 million small-scale producers and workers in 3,000+ grassroots organizations in 70 countries. Fair Trade products are sold in thousands of retail stores, supermarkets and sales outlets in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America, and feature over 10,000 different products!
Fair Trade companies and advocates work with international brands to create and sell Fair Trade certified products while also working with international policy makers and governments to improve working conditions for international workers on a global level. On top of that, Fair Trade has made mainstream business more aware of their social and environmental responsibility.
To become Fair Trade certified, we have committed to paying our workers a Fair Trade minimum price that is above market wages, allowing our workers to form a labor union to ensure that they can work together and express their needs to us as a group, and paying our workers a premium wage on top of the Fair Trade wages that goes to a savings account that they then elect to use however they choose.
Why Fair Trade?
Today’s global fashion industry employs over 60 million people - most of which work in unsafe factory and environmental conditions while receiving extremely poor wages. Globally, annual revenues from the industry are measured in the trillions of dollars and many household-name retailers admit that they don’t know exactly how the cotton they use is farmed and processed.
To make things worse, the fashion industry is the world's second most extractive and polluting industry, second only to the oil industry. In parts of China and India, farmers can predict the color of the next fashion season by the color of their rivers due to run-off from the textile industry. And last year, the number of cotton child workers in India was half a million.
When we stopped for a moment to think about this data and when we traveled through those countries and saw those workers with our own eyes, we knew why Gallant had to be a Fair Trade and Organic enterprise. For us, it is the only way to do business in a way that can combat fast fashion and global giants who don’t know who they are impacting with their businesses or what the true cost is of the cheap goods they flood the market with. Our products are biodegradable, sustainable and free of harmful chemicals. The process we use benefits the ecosystem and its people, and we know we are doing good in the world while creating something meaningful, responsible and authentic.
Just like our company. For us, the choice was simple. We hope for you that it will be too.