Textile Standard

Fairtrade 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.

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Workers sewing at a factory in India.
Image © Anand Parmar

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 responsible 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.

EN | Fairtrade Textile Standard

FR | Standard Fairtrade pour le textile - version précédente

DE | Fairtrade-Textilstandard - vorherige Version

Supplementary documents

Geographical scope of Fairtrade Textile Standard

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:

EN | Geographical scope of Fairtrade Textile Standard

About responsible fibres

The Fairtrade Textile Standard allows the use of responsible fibres in textile production composition. More details on the criteria for responsible fibres can be found in the annex to the Textile Standard below and in the list of approved schemes for responsible fibres. You can also find details on the approval process and an application form below.

EN | Responsible Fibre Criteria

EN | Approved Responsible Fibres

EN | Responsible Fibre approval process

EN | Responsible Fibre application form

Principles underlying this Standard

The main components of fair and sustainable trading relations in the standard are as follows:

  • 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. 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 responsible 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 Responsible 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.

For workers in textile supply chains, the Fairtrade Textile Standard promotes the following principles:

  • 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 programmes 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 Fairtrade Textile Standard promotes the following principles:

  • 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.

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.