Innovations in Fair Trade: Bracelets, Bags, Lip Balm, & T-Shirts

The Fair Trade Federation (FTF), a community of U.S. and Canadian businesses committed to fair trade, is joining the WFTO in celebrating innovative business and product solutions that support people and planet! Learn how bags, bracelets, t-shirts, and lip balm from FTF members are empowering women, creating economic opportunities, fighting climate change, and promoting an ethical lifestyle.

Innovations that empower women

Fair trade enterprises are committed to empowering women globally because all women should have an equal opportunity to realize their potential.

Seed to Sew International is a woman-owned and women-run organization. Their mission is to improve the lives of women and girls in impoverished communities through education and job-skills training. Women in their programs living in rural Kenya learn how to sew by making beautiful Enkiteng Bags, which provide them a sustainable income. They sew the bags out of donated, upcycled fabric in all kinds of patterns and colors. Designed to be sustainable gift-wrapping bags, they can also be used as traveling bags, laundry bags, pillowcases, lunch bags, and more.

By innovating to empower women, FTF members are leading by example to create a fairer society for the next generation.

Innovations that create economic opportunities

Fair trade enterprises place the interests of producers and their communities as the primary concern of their enterprise.

WorldFinds works with artisan groups that include WFTO members, small families of artisans, and women’s cooperatives. They have a holistic business approach in which all are paid a living wage, have safe working conditions, access to healthcare and childcare, and on-going training and education. They have been working with many groups for over a decade, during which they have seen many artisans lift themselves out of poverty and even launch their own successful businesses, strengthening their communities. For World Fair Trade Day, WorldFinds is working with artisans to launch a new collection of bracelets. The Cause Connection Bracelets are delicately beaded, stretchy styles that connect to a cause. The bracelets are packaged for gifting, and the causes they benefit include fighting cancer, educating girls, cleaning oceans, empowering women, rescuing animals, providing meals, supporting U.S. veterans, and promoting equality.

By innovating to create economic opportunities, FTF members are growing artisan and farmer businesses, strengthening communities, and creating positive change in everything they do.

Innovations that save the planet            

Fair trade enterprises are leaders in upcycling and the circular economy through their commitment to cultivating environmental stewardship.

GOEX works to provide fair wages and high quality products throughout their supply chain, and recently added recycled polyester to their signature tri-blend t-shirts. Every Tri-Blend T-Shirt contains the equivalent of around 6 plastic water bottles. GOEX believes in the ability to change the course of lives through a simple decision like choosing a t-shirt. Perhaps most importantly, their partnerships set an example in the marketplace that can affect systemic bottom-up change through the dignity of work.

By innovating to sustain the planet, FTF members are raising the bar in action against climate change.

Innovations in product development

Fair trade enterprises are dedicated to creating unique products that sustain relationships with artisans and farmers and allow their businesses and communities to flourish.

Zambeezi Organic Beeswax Lip Balms recently launched their newest flavor, the Honeybalm™. Through honey’s humectant qualities, the balm naturally absorbs moisture to keep lips hydrated, soft, and soothed. Honey and beeswax typically resist each other like oil and water. After years of tests and experiments, Zambeezi discovered a way to integrate these two incredible skincare ingredients. They partner with the North-Western Beekeeper's Association in Zambia, a network of over 1000 beekeepers, to source high quality ingredients and to create more opportunities in the communities with which they work.

By innovating in product development, FTF members are able to reach new and wider audiences, create higher demand for fair trade products, and affect more lives around the world.

To learn more about the 250+ FTF members and their innovations in fair trade, visit

By Rachel Spence
Engagement Manager, Fair Trade Federation