10 Years Of Progress: Transforming The Fashion Industry With Fair Trade And Fashion Revolution

Located in Savar, Bangladesh, Rana Plaza was an eight-story building that housed five garment factories which manufactured clothing for major global brands. Despite workers reporting cracks in the building, an indication of potential structural issues, factory owners demanded they continue working or face termination. On the 24th of April 2013, Rana Plaza collapsed, resulting in a preventable tragedy and death of more than 1,100 garment workers and injuring over 2,600 others. 

A decade has passed since the Rana Plaza disaster. The catastrophe served as a catalyst for change, inspiring the global Fashion Revolution movement and prompting the fashion industry to re-evaluate its practices. The fashion industry has undergone a significant transformation as consumers and buyers have started to consciously consider the impact their choices have on the world. 

As a buyer, you can contribute to a more sustainable and ethical industry while meeting the growing demand for conscious fashion. Let’s explore the progress made over the past ten years and inspire you to continue supporting fair trade brands.

  1. Embracing the principles of Fair Trade

The WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization) has established ten Principles to ensure that Fair Trade organizations prioritise workers’ rights, fair wages, safe working conditions, and environmental sustainability. By sourcing from WFTO members, you support a global network of businesses committed to fostering ethical practices in the fashion industry.

  1. Meeting consumer demand for ethical fashion

In the past decade, there has been a significant shift in consumer attitudes towards sustainability and ethical production. By choosing to work with WFTO members, you meet the growing demand for transparent and responsible fashion while positioning your brand as a leader in the movement towards a more ethical industry. As a buyer, you can meet this growing demand for ethical fashion by sourcing from WFTO members who adhere to the ten Principles of Fair Trade here.

  1. Building a positive brand reputation

By demonstrating your commitment to ethical sourcing and supporting organizations that prioritize the well-being of workers and the environment, you showcase your brand as an agent of change in the fashion industry.

  1. Encouraging industry-wide change

Sourcing from WFTO members sends a powerful message to other businesses within the fashion industry, encouraging them to adopt more ethical and sustainable practices. This collective effort can inspire meaningful change, fostering a fairer, more responsible, and more transparent fashion landscape.

  1. Strengthening supply chain resilience

By working with WFTO members, you invest in supply chains that prioritize long-term relationships, community development, and environmental stewardship. These practices contribute to a more resilient and stable supply chain, reducing the risk of disruptions due to social or environmental factors.

  1. Supporting artisanal craftsmanship and cultural heritage

WFTO members often work with artisan communities, preserving traditional craftsmanship and cultural heritage. Sourcing from these organizations allows you to offer unique, high-quality products that celebrate the rich history and skills of artisans worldwide.

  1. Pioneering innovative business models

The WFTO and its members are constantly pushing the boundaries of traditional fashion business models. From embracing circular economy principles to fostering collaborations between artisan cooperatives, these organizations are paving the way for a more inclusive and sustainable industry. By partnering with WFTO members, you can showcase the innovative side of ethical fashion to your customers.

  1. Participating in the Fashion Revolution

Finally, by aligning your brand with the principles of Fair Trade and sourcing from WFTO members, you become an active participant in the Fashion Revolution. This global movement, inspired by the Rana Plaza tragedy, aims to create a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry.

As we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, it is essential to recognize the progress made while continuing to push for a better future. Are you ready to join the #FashionRevolution?

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17th international


17-20 SEPT 2024 – CAPE TOWN 

We are thrilled to invite you to our upcoming International Fair Trade Summit, set to take place in the vibrant city of Cape Town, from the 17th to the 20th of September 2024.

The International Fair Trade Summit aims to bring together leaders, practitioners, and advocates from all corners of the globe to collaborate and promote Fair Trade practices. This edition promises to be a unique opportunity for participants to engage in enlightening discussions, exchange ideas, and forge partnerships that will shape the future of Fair Trade.

WFTO Membership & Associate Types

  • Fair Trade Organisations (FTO)

    All trading members of WFTO. This includes all organisations that have more than half of their income and/or more than €100,000 in income from trade.

  • Fair Trade Support Organisations (FTSO)

    An organisation whose primary mission is to support Fair Trade and/or provide services to organisations that are or want to become Fair Trade Organisations.

  • Fair Trade Networks (FTN)

    An organisation which is an association of organisations committed to Fair Trade.

  • Individual Associates (IA)

    Individual Associates are supporters of the Fair Trade movement with limited rights. The WFTO Guarantee System does not apply to them.

  • Associate Organisations (AO)

    Associate Organisations align with WFTO’s values but after their application. They do not undergo monitoring and also have limited rights.

WFTO Guarantee System Monitoring Statuses

  • Candidates

    Candidates have been conditionally approved for membership but have not completed their first monitoring cycle under the WFTO Guarantee System. They have limited rights within WFTO. They may not use the WFTO Member Mark and Product Label or claim that they are monitored by WFTO.

  • Guaranteed Members

    Guaranteed members have met the WFTO Membership requirements and are monitored under the WFTO Guarantee System.

  • Member

    Organisations that have no or little income from trade go through a reduced version of the WFTO Guarantee System that does not include criteria related to trade. These organisations may use the WFTO Member Mark but cannot use the Product Label for any products they may be trading to support their mission. This status only applies to Fair Trade Networks (FTN) and Support Organisations (FTSO).

  • Renewal in Progress

    Members who are in the process of renewing their guaranteed status and are overdue on some requirements retain full rights while they work to meet the demands of the Guarantee System on an administrative or compliance level.

Become an Impact Ally

Collaboration is key to successful transformation, meaningful impact, and our movement

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WFTO welcomes applications from established Fair Trade Organisations as well as organisations that support Fair Trade. Individuals in their capacity as researchers, writers, consultants and specialists in their field who can contribute solid skills, knowledge and expertise to WFTO and members are also welcome.

Add Your Heading Text Initial requirements for organisations:

  • Compliance with the WFTO 10 Principles of Fair Trade. Please have a look at the WFTO Fair Trade Standard for more specific information on compliance with these principles.

  • All applicant organisations must already be duly registered (as a legal entity) and active for at least one year.

Who can apply?

  • Fair Trade Organisations (FTO)

    All companies, partnerships, co-partnerships and other legal bodies – as determined by the legal provisions of the country of the member concerned – that are directly engaged in Fair Trade. They may be producers or northern or southern based trading FTOs for whom Fair Trade is the main activity. To qualify for FTO membership, income from sales (turnover) must account for 50% or more of the total income. Applications for FTO membership cannot be accepted from organisations with no prior sales history.

  • Fair Trade Networks (FTN)

    Legal entities whose primary function is to serve as national or international associations of Fair Trade producers and/or Fair Trade Organisations.

  • Fair Trade Support Organisations (FTSO)

    Fair Trade Organisations where trading is not the main activity (proportion of trade is less than 50% of total income). These organisations are engaged in Fair Trade indirectly, through activities that promote and support Fair Trade. These activities can include business counselling, finance, advocacy or networking.

  • Associate Organisations

    This is a special category for national or international organisations that are interested in supporting and promoting Fair Trade, including donor organisations. Organisations that do not meet the one-year legal existence requirement also fit in this group.

  • Individual Associates

    Individual researchers, writers, consultants and specialists in their field that can support WFTO. WFTO expects its individual associates to be active Fair Trade supporters whose experience and expertise in their own particular field can be of practical benefit to WFTO's members. To apply, please submit a curriculum vitae.

    While FTO, FTN and FTSO are entitled to full WFTO membership, organizational and individual associates have only limited rights.

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The WFTO Product Label is more than just a Fair Trade symbol. It signifies not only that the practices across the supply chain are checked against the WFTO Fair Trade Standard, but it also represents support to the battle against poverty and inequality. Products carrying the WFTO Label are made and traded by Guaranteed Fair Trade Organisations dedicated to the sustainable Fair Trade economy. Every purchase of products with the WFTO Label supports small producers and their communities.

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