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About Fair Trade

Fair Trade and Ethical Business

Fair Trade is a global movement that assumes the right type of trade can help alleviate poverty and empower disadvantaged communities. It places fairness in prices and wages, the capacity for disadvantaged communities to compete, and the alleviation of poverty at the core of commercial trade practices. As a supporter of this movement, Change Merchants is a member of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand

Fair Trade is currently undergoing a renaissance. While it used to be thought of as a movement selling only coffee or chocolate, or simple ‘traditional’, ‘cultural’ goods, the limits of Fair Trade are being blown wide open. Customers can now buy an enormous range of Fair Trade accredited products, from hand lotion, to office supplies, or soft furnishings for the home. And the good news is, you can still buy great Fair Trade chocolate!

Fair Trade accreditation is a good way to know the things you buy are Fair Trade, however, it’s not the be all and end all of ethical purchasing. At Change Merchants, many of our suppliers have been Fair Trade accredited, however those who have not, have nevertheless been identified by us as an ethical business. There may be a variety of reasons why they are not accredited as yet, sometimes it’s due to the size of their business, or a lack of available staff to take them through what is a pretty intensive process. You can see the fair trade or ethical credentials of all of our partners under their listing in our Artisans and Partners page.

In selecting ethical business partners, Change Merchants looks for:

A particular type of business     

Businesses that employ, or are owned by, disadvantaged people who would otherwise have limited access to employment and a sustainable livelihood. We seek out businesses that have transparent and accountable processes at all levels.

Fair Working Conditions                 

Workers are paid fair, living wages or prices for their products, and have good working conditions. No child labour or forced labour is involved, and employees are treated with respect. There is a Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Women’s Economic Empowerment, and Freedom of Association.

Respect for the Environment    

Environmental impact is minimised and sustainable practices are encouraged.

These principles are modelled on the ten principles of fair trade, as promoted by the World Fair Trade Organization

It’s not a perfect system, but we think that keeping a focus on our supply chain and packaging, and ensuring we purchase goods that are produced responsibly, puts Change Merchants ahead of the game in terms of responsible business practices. We aim to ensure that all aspects of our business live up to these high ideals. Where possible we use recycled packaging for our products (although we make sure it also looks great!), and we pay artisans and suppliers in advance rather than selling on consignment, or purchase through Fair Trade accredited, ethical wholesalers.