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Fairtrade Textile Standard
The Fairtrade Textile Standard is one component of the greater Fairtrade Textile Programme to facilitate change in textile supply chains and related business practices. This comprehensive approach engages manufacturers and workers in the supply chain to bring about better wages and working conditions, and engages brands to commit to fair terms of trade.
Principles underlying this standard
The main components of fair and sustainable trading relations in the standard includes:
- Criteria for all stages of production for the entire supply chain: all supply chain actors including brands need to establish fair, reliable and predictable contract arrangements to facilitate long term investments in the improvement of workers’ conditions. Once their entire supply chain has been certified, products may carry the Fairtrade Textile Production Mark (PDF). Product packaging will also indicate the brand’s progress towards achieving living wages in the product supply chain.
- It is applicable in only countries where Freedom of Association is possible as determined by the geographic scope policy. Excluded countries are listed in the policy.
- The standard is open to other sustainable fibres, in addition to Fairtrade cotton, in order to leverage supply chains and reach a broader range of factories and workers as determined by the Fairtrade sustainable Fibre Criteria.
- All subcontractors must be registered and agree to audits. The subcontractors comply with labour conditions and the grievance procedures. There must be a management system in place to monitor and support subcontractor compliance.
- Living wage: The Fairtrade Textile Standard requires the implementation of living wages within six years. Fairtrade will determine living wages by drawing on existing wage agreements made by local unions within the textile sector and through applying approved methodologies, such as the Anker method to set regional benchmarks. The Anker method is a shared approach developed by ISEAL members to estimating Living Wages.
- Empowerment of workers, securing their position and status within companies. The standard reduces barriers and offers workers support to unionize or become a member of an existing union, helping to secure their position and improve their status in the company.
- Worker engagement in compliance with the standard, contributing to their empowerment through the Compliance Committee.
- Occupational health and safety: The Fairtrade Textile Standard sets requirements for workplace safety, including the use of protective clothing, proper handling of hazardous materials and building safety.
- Conditions of employment: It includes requirements related to working hours and overtime, employment contracts and temporary employment.
- A grievance procedure engages civil society to support workers in a grievance case, to supplement the company procedure if this is not satisfactory to the worker.
- Training and capacity building: Training to raise the awareness of workers’ rights. Training is an essential element in improving workers’ situation, including building awareness on workers’ rights.
- The standard includes requirements to support youth employment and apprentice programmes, which encourage companies to develop youth apprenticeship or trainee programs for young workers (of legal working age) and allowing young workers to build skills and the management to develop a trained work force.
For the Environment
- The intent of the environmental requirements is to reduce negative impacts on workers and environment by controlling chemical use and practices.
- The standard’s environmental requirements are modeled on leading health and safety standards in the industry.
- The standard includes a list of prohibited materials specific to textile production, banning substances of high concern, including carcinogenic, highly toxic and substances that may be injurious to human health and reproduction. This list replaces the Prohibited Materials List in the Fairtrade Trader Standard.
Assurance behind the standard
The Fairtrade Textile Standard includes an innovative approach to assurance in order to address the most commonly identified weaknesses in the social compliance audit model for the textile industry. These include:
- improving the competencies of auditors, including identification of fraud,
- strengthening the participation of workers in the process,
- identifying the root cause of non-compliances so these can be addressed, especially when they are related to the buying practices of brand owners,
- maintaining a high level of scrutiny in terms of audit frequency and duration, including unannounced audits,
- increased transparency along the process.
Download the Fairtrade Textile Standard
This standard applies to operators employing hired workers in the textile supply chain processing Fairtrade certified cotton and/or other sustainable fibres. This includes, but is not restricted to, ginners, spinning, weaving, knitting, and cut-make-trim stages of textile production. This standard is applicable in countries and regions where freedom of association is possible. Non-essential elements and accessories are not included in the scope of this standard.
This standard also applies to brand owners purchasing finished textiles. The brand owner must have a contract with the relevant National Fairtrade Organization or Fairtrade International.
The standard is valid from 22 March 2016. It will be applicable from 1 June 2016 and will be applied in audits from that date onward.
The purpose of the Fairtrade International geographical scope for the Fairtrade Textile Standard is to determine in which countries and zones textile suppliers can be Fairtrade certified under the Textile Standard. Details can be found in the document below:
The Fairtrade Textile Standard allows the use of sustainable fibres in textile production composition. More details on the criteria for sustainable fibres can be found in the annex to the Textile Standard below, which includes a list of approved schemes for sustainable fibres. You can also find details on the approval process and an application form below.
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