Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative Society (HLHCS)

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About Us
The Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative Society (HLHCS) is a guaranteed World Fair Trade Organization in Palestinian town of Bethlehem, founded in 1981. We support 35 members, small-scale producers of artisanal crafts from Bethlehem and surrounding villages, to bring their goods to market through fair and ethical sourcing practices. We hope to preserve Bethlehem’s handicraft traditions for the benefit of future generations of artisans. Our Cooperative’s work benefits approximately 2000 individuals, both directly as members and indirectly through market collaboration. Our partnerships include local women’s enterprise groups and organizations that support persons with disabilities. In addition to fair and ethical access to markets, we provide our 35 members with workshop renovations and equipment with aim of protecting the health and safety of the handicraft producers.

Mission Statement

In our hometown of Bethlehem, we host the only cooperative-run fair trade shop, featuring works of art, souvenirs, jewelry, embroidery, religious items, and other products handcrafted from olive wood, mother of pearl, glass, and ceramic. We provide a unique shopping experience for pilgrims, tourists, and other customers interested in quality products, sourced fairly, from the local community. We also have developed our logistical capacity to export our products internationally. The shop provides a vital sales outlet to small scale producers who would otherwise be unable to market their products individually at a fair price. Conserving Nature, preserving life For the Holy Land community, olive wood is more than a raw material. Olive trees are a symbol of peace and are engrained into our cultural identity and way of life. The iconic plant provides livelihoods to 800,000 Palestinian families. Given the cultural and economic importance of the olive tree, preservation of the plant is crucial to our work. HLHCS’s crafts are produced using pruned branches, collected without harming our removing the ancient trees. World FAIR Trade Organization: Join the Movement As the first organization in the Arab world to qualify for and benefit from WFTO membership, we aim to be a part of creating awareness that leads to action with regard to Fair Trade. Our vision is a world in which justice and sustainable development are at the heart of trade structures and practices so that everyone can maintain a decent and dignified livelihood. The Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative Society has a dream of peace in the Holy Land, and we believe that Fair Trade is a tool to reach our aspirations!
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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.

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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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