What Is Fair Trade Certified and Why Does It Matter?

"By working at this factory, I'm able to support my family and meet daily needs. Every year when we receive our Fair Trade premiums, I'm able to put them into savings - which may become important later in life. I remember the first year when the factory joined Fair Trade, I was able to buy a bicycle for my son to ride to school - I was so proud! If the customers buy our products, we can benefit and improve our lives while also providing good clothing for people all over the world."

Rehana Middey, 34, works in finishing at the Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills in Howrah.

Fair trade is a global movement made up of producers, companies, consumers, advocates, and organizations working towards the mission of eliminating poverty and enabling sustainable development for farmers, workers, their families, and their communities around the world.

When you see a product with the Fair Trade Certified™ seal, you can be sure it was made according to rigorous social, environmental, and economic standards. Fair Trade USA, the non-profit organization that pioneered the fair trade movement and oversees the certification process, works closely on the ground with producers and certifies transactions between companies and their suppliers to ensure that the people making Fair Trade Certified goods work in safe conditions, protect the environment, build sustainable livelihoods, and earn additional money to empower and uplift their communities. Just last year, purchases of Fair Trade Certified products and other donations from supporters helped improve the lives of nearly one million farmers, workers, and fishermen in more than 45 countries.

Fair Trade Certified
Tierra Forte, Mightly’s CEO, is a Fair Trade USA alumna, and was a leading member of the Fair Trade USA team that developed the Fair Trade Apparel and Home Goods Pilot Program. This program was the first global program to certify facilities making clothing, accessories, and linens with a consumer label to signal social and environmental sustainability, while delivering direct economic benefits to both cotton farmers and cut-and-sew workers. The pilot program evolved, and developed into Fair Trade USA’s Factory Program, in which Mightly currently participates. It was through Fair Trade USA that Tierra met Rajat Jaipuria, the owner of Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills, in Kolkata, India where Mightly’s GOTS certified organic children’s clothes are made. Rajat’s family has been in the textile business since the 1930s and a leader in sustainable manufacturing for decades. In 2012, Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills become one of the first factories in the world to achieve Fair Trade Certification.
Mightly, Inc., was founded in 2019 by Tierra and two other Oakland mothers with the idea of making certified organic, fair trade children’s clothing, at prices parents could afford. Our first fair trade collection debuted in 2020, and 100% of Mightly’s organic clothing, designed for children ages 2 to 12, will be Fair Trade Certified™ by winter 2020.  

When you buy Fair Trade Certified™ children’s organic cotton leggings, pajamas, dresses, hoodies, or shirts, the garment workers at Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills earn an additional Fair Trade Premium that goes into a Community Development Fund. A democratically elected committee of workers, called the Fair Trade Committee, votes on how the funds will be best spent based on dialogue and proactive problem-solving around their community’s greatest needs. In normal times, that may mean putting money towards education, home sewing machines, and clean bedding; in the current covid era, that can mean more funding for emergency funds for basic necessities, and financial support for ill workersBy purchasing Fair Trade Certified clothing, you are supporting better working conditions for the people who make them. 

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