"Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers - especially in the South. Fair Trade is more than just trading: it proves that greater justice in world trade is possible. It highlights the need for change in the rules and practice of conventional trade and shows how a successful business can also put people first."
Fair Trade is core to our business as we import finished products directly from producers that provide work for women and marginalized communities in Laos and Afghanistan. We have personally met all of our producers in Laos and have teamed up with the Roddy Scott Foundation, a development charity based in North Yorkshire, to build new links with producers in Afghanistan. We have relationships with a variety of different organisations including small businesses, producer associations and NGOs. All of our suppliers have positive employment practices providing good working conditions and pay, and encouraging gender equity. Whilst some producers we work with are already members of the WFTO, many are small, independent organisations with a limited or no experience in international trade. From The Source offer an opportunity to export to the UK for the first time, and assist producers in achieving international fair trade certification.
It is generally women that provide the skills such as weaving and dyeing in making our products, and the producers we work give a vital and secure income for women, often in rural areas. Working towards gender equity and empowering women through good paid work is a fundamental part of development, and we actively encourage this when sourcing our products.
For trade to be sustainable it is essential to manage the environmental impact of production as well as social and economic factors. Our producers use locally available raw materials wherever possible, for example cotton producerd organically in small scale farms in Laos. Many of our products are dyed using natural dyes from trees, plants and flowers, avoiding the impact on the waste stream of chemical dyes.
We stock a unique range of silk and cotton scarves from Laos, both women's scarves and men's scarves, and have started new relationships with producers in Afghanistan, Nepal and India. We opened a shop in Skipton, North Yorkshire in 2012, selling our own products along with a mix of silver jewellery, gifts and clothing from leading ethical brands, and run the shop alongside our growing wholesale business and website.
Fiona passed away in 2015 and From The Source is now run by Paul, juggling the business with bringing up a young family, along with Helen and Stacey who complete the team. We are