Conserve India employs and trains hundreds of people from Delhi's most disadvantaged communities to clear their streets of the plague of plastic bag waste. The product line has grown to include products made from old tires, discarded textiles, seat belts, with some of the most astonishing products made from a mixture of materials. In addition to paying a fair wage to its employees, Conserve supports schools and health clinics in the local community.
Sevya works with thousands of artisans throughout India, including weavers, block printers, embroiderers, and painters. They focus less on the individual artists and more on the community because generally the whole community is involved in the creation of a product. The artisans are all equal owners of the cooperatives and share the profits equally. Sevya also has special finance programs and health care for the cooperative which allows artisans to get financing at low interest rates and help end the cycle of poverty.
Asha Imports works to improve the lives of the poor in Southeast Asia. Because of the high poverty levels, an estimated 30% of Calcutta's population lives in slums. Many of the skill sets in the slums are unemployable in the current economy so more and more women are turning to the sex trade. Asha Imports provides employment based around these skills so that families can pull themselves out of the slums. They are brining choices of employment to women who can no realize they do not have to live their lives selling their bodies. Asha works diligently to distribute products made by people who have been given a chance to rise above their circumstance and take bake their humanity.
What Daisy Did
What Daisy Did creates a fashion brand that is beautiful, functional, affordable and tackles waste from every angle. They are a member of the British Association of Fairtrade Shops and Suppliers and are partnered with The Woodland Trust to offset their carbon footprint and all employees are paid above the living wage. They’re strong advocates of slow fashion, a term which describes our battle against reckless consumerism in the fashion industry.
Sustainable Threads was born from collective professional experience and personal interest in rural development, entrepreneurship and social justice. Sustainable Threads works with over 10 artisan groups in India, with the goal of long term, deep partnerships. The focus is on the people, not just the product. This model requires a significant investment in design and product development, factoring in the skill sets of each community.
Silence is a self-help project for artisans who are deaf or physically disabled. Silence works to help their artisans become self-sufficient and earn their living, training team members in different skills. After completing Silence's training courses, artisans are encouraged to move into commercial housing so that new artisans can be trained. Silence artisans products are exported or sold locally at Silence's retail store. Artisan benefits include a retirement fund, health and personal accident insurance (the latter important due to disabilities), profit sharing and certification of disability to qualify for free bus transit and reduced government taxation.
Noah's Ark Int'l Exports
In 1986, Noah's Ark was started in a room of a family house in Moradabad, India by businessman Samuel Masih, who wanted to curb the exploitation of artisans by exporters and middlemen. Most of their artisans are women, who benefit from the fact that they can work from home and maintain their responsibilities for children and household. Noah's Ark provides benefits such as education and medical treatment for artisans and their families. As artisan businesses become more self-sufficient, the organization takes on new families. Since the company's inception, about 20 artisan workshops have become independent.
HSSS, in India, is a non-profit organization that works to uplift and develop underprivileged artisan groups. It is composed of male artisans, both Hindu and Muslin, who suffer educational, training and health related issues. The hardships that these people go through include physical handicaps, illiteracy, extreme poverty, entrapment in lower castes, lack of knowledge about trade and markets, among others. The Fair Trade market model has let them create self help groups for the artisans and also organize several exhibitions for promoting their art to increase their market opportunities.
Mira Ethnicity LLC in India achieved fair trade status in 2009. Mira works with cooperatives in rural India, helping local artists with fabric choices and design in order to bring them about the average monthly income of $50. Many of these artisans formed cooperatives to fund community projects such as building schools and hospitals, digging wells, and working on irrigation/water projects while preserving traditional arts and crafts.
Eco-Friendly Paper workshop is the result of multiple generations practicing and perfecting the art of paper making. Artisans convert paper made from recycled cotton rags into beautiful products such as stationary, journals and albums without the aid of heavy machinery. Along with recycled cotton paper the journals are bound in cruelty free leather. This leather comes from animals that have died naturally, in an area of Rajasthan that is strictly vegetarian.
Based in Kolkata, Sasha Exports is a nonprofit marketing outlet for more than 85 small member cooperatives of Sasha Association for Craft Producers. Although Sasha offers design services, training in business skill development and other management principles, the organization's objective is for the artisans to run their businesses independently. The crafts and textiles offered by Sasha draws on tradition, retaining the cultural context, yet contemporizing the products for present day living.
Maroma is based in Auroville, India and international project dedicated to human unity and the advancement of society in a fair and non-sectarian fashion. The community now extends over some 80 settlements inhabited by about 1800 people from India and 30 other countries. Maroma employs only adults and most are women from the local villages. Salaries are higher than the local standard and benefits include a pleasant work atmosphere, reasonable hours, health care facilities, hygiene programs, nutritional snacks and savings plans. The ingredients used in their products are recyclable and abundantly present in nature or taken from renewable resources.
Started in 1978, Palam Rural Centre offers employment opportunities to people of the Harijan (untouchables) community. Traditionally leather workers, they found little market for their products. In the Tamil language palam means ‘bridge’ and Palam Rural Centre seeks to build a ‘bridge’ to the markets of the rest of the world. Due to a downturn in the world leather market, Palam Rural Centre has diversified into soap production but continues to develop new designs of leather items.
Working with over 30 artisan groups and over 5,000 artisans in India, Matr Boomie links responsibly made Fair Trade products to the consumers who seek them. By creating self-sustainable employment opportunities, Matr Boomie assists artisans in improving their economic and social standings. A main function of Matr Boomie is to empower the artisans with market and fashion information that allow them to create functional products. Artisans often incoperate natural fibers or recycled materials into their hand made goods, supplying eco friendly options for their customers.
Mata Traders believes Fair Trade is not charity but a trade-based movement that creates long-term relationships based on transparency, trust and respect. They pay fair wages and work with groups that provide safe and healthy working conditions, low cost or free training, time off for education, loans and financial advising, opportunities for health care and most importantly a positive and uplifting working environment. In addition they are dedicated to preserving the environment through the use of natural (plant or vegetable based) dyes and water reduction in the production process. Fabrics are washed by hand in the local waterways and dried in the sun.