As trade customers you are rightly concerned about what you buy and sell. In particular, many of you have asked if Birchcraft products carry the FAIRTRADE label. Birchcraft products cannot currently carry the FAIRTRADE label because FAIRTRADE does not currently grant certification for manufactured items except sports balls (see below).
However, we still feel responsible for the products we design and produce. We have spent considerable time finding a supplier who understands our products and can produce them without exploiting employees and the environment.
FAIRTRADE certification is currently awarded to 18 different product types.
Food Products: Non-Food Products:
• Bananas •Cut Flowers
• Cocoa •Cotton
• Coffee •Ornamental Plants
• Cotton •Sports Balls
• Dried Fruit
• Fresh Fruit & Fresh Vegetables
• Nuts/Oil Seeds and Purees
All of these are agricultural products except sports balls. The sports ball certification was primarily granted to encourage the elimination of child labour in Pakistan and Indonesia. FAIRTRADE may extend certification to manufactured items in the future and should it encompass any of our products we will apply for certification. However until that time we will endeavour to follow fair-trade principles.
The FAIRTRADE Mark is an independent consumer label which appears on products as an independent guarantee that the disadvantaged producers in the developing world are getting a better deal. For a product to display the FAIRTRADE Mark it must meet international standards set by the Fairtrade labeling organization, (FLO).
There are two sets of producer standards depending on the type of product and if it is produced by a small farm or on a plantation or in a factory.
Birchcraft decorations are produced in small factories where the workers are trained in arts and crafts and so FAIRTRADE’S stated trading principles for a factory are relevant.
•The workers shall be are paid a fair wage which is at least the national minimum wage.
•The workers shall benefit from good working conditions including holidays.
•No Child labour shall be used.
•There shall be no discrimination against women.
We have frequently visited the two factories that we use in Zhejiang province, China. One specializes in making fabric products such as our garlands, Christmas stockings and sacks. The workers here are skilled at needlework and embroidery. As most of our products are made by hand it is important to have good working conditions to retain these skilled workers. The second factory specializes in our wooden products and here we have worked alongside Mr Jin for many years. It is his attention his detail, quality and colour that has helped us build our collections.
Both factories are light and airy and employ a skilled workforce who are paid a market wage. In China there are strict guidelines in workplaces and inspections are carried out regularly. There is no discrimination against women in the workforce and we have had contact with senior people of both sexes. No children are employed in these factories. It is very rare to find children working in China because of the ‘one child’ policy. Hence children are special and education is very important.
Our principle is to be as environmentally responsible as possible. Our decorations are handcrafted and hand made in an efficient way. The main constituent is birch plywood which is a soft wood. We always wood from a sustainable source. We try to use recycled cardboard whenever we can and in the UK we recycle as much packaging as we can including all the cardboard.
As a small producer we do not have the buying power to force our producers to buy only forestry certificated wood. However with time many large retailers are requesting that products are manufactured in an environmentally sustainable way and this is forcing overseas producers to use recycled or sustainable materials and to produce goods in an efficient way.
I hope in time it will be possible that small companies such as ours who produce non food products will be able to demonstrate their adherence to FAIRTRADE’s principles through certification. However until then we will continue to work in line with FAIRTRADE’s principles and guidelines.
If you have any queries on this environmental statement do not hesitate to contact us. To find out more about FAIRTRADE please go to www.fairtrade.net