All Namaste products are traded fairly

Summary

We are a small company with a strong ethical policy that is based upon the belief that the best way to reduce poverty in the developing world is through trade. We are not perfect but we are honest and our aim is to improve our own goals, aspirations and achievements as we develop in tandem with our producer partners. Namaste is proud to be a BAFTS Member, the British Association for Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers as a Fair Trade importer.

Mutually beneficial long term trade

We look to buy from small scale producers who use largely natural materials and traditional techniques to produce interesting and inherently beautiful articles. We believe that the best way to help disadvantaged producers is to work with them in partnership through mutually beneficial and long term trade. We have helped over 100 producers to grow and develop with us since we started trading 20 years ago.

Fair Trade Organisations

Some of our suppliers are members of the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) and some are members of their appropriate National Fair Trade Organisation. Our largest suppliers in India, Vietnam, Nepal and Kenya are recognized by the WFTO or their national counterparts as Fair Trade producers. We encourage and if appropriate; help our suppliers to seek formal fair trade recognition. In Thailand and Indonesia we deal with many very small scale artisan producers who do not wish to or do not have the ability to become recognised Fair Trade producers. We believe very strongly that these are the sort of very small scale producers who really do need our help. It is what Fair Trade should be about and we are proud to help with or without them having formal fair trade recognition.

Namaste supports Child Rescue Nepal - formerly the Esther Benjamins Trust - www.childrescuenepal.org.

Why do we think it is Fair Trade?

The WFTO has 10 principles that Fair Trade organisations must follow. We follow these principles and regularly review our procedures and achievements according to these principles:-

1. Namaste seeks to work with disadvantaged and marginalised producers and to develop business with them to help them become financially stronger and more independent. We try to buy craft products that reflect the culture and tradition and that utilize the skills of the supplier. We also buy from some larger producers if we are happy that they are also adhering to the principles of Fair Trade. Many larger suppliers are able to provide better job security, facilities and benefits for their workers and many are able to support community or charitable projects.

2. We are accountable to BAFTS and provide transparent information about our producers and trading practices to BAFTS as part of our ongoing membership renewal. We make Fair Trade Point of Sale information available for our customers.

3. We always follow Fair Trading practices. This involves paying an advance when asked for or required to allow the producer to buy raw materials and start making the order without getting into financial difficulty. We never ask for or take credit terms from any of our suppliers. When the goods are shipped, they have been paid for in full. We never make exceptions to these rules and never have. If suppliers need money early for particular reasons we will always try and help them.

4. We discuss pricing with our suppliers in an open and honest way. We seek to pay a price that fairly reflects the value of the product, that allows it to sell successfully and that allows the workers to earn fair wages. We do our best to ensure that wages paid are at or above local expectations and in accordance with national laws.

5. We do our utmost to ensure that no children or forced labour is involved in the production of Namaste products. We ensure that no children under the age of 16 are involved in factory based production for Namaste. Many items are produced by home workers, which provides useful additional income whilst allowing them to look after their homes and families.

6. Namaste suppliers commit to non-discrimination, gender equality and freedom of association.

7. Wherever possible we visit suppliers ourselves to make sure that producers have good working conditions. We also have agents who make visits and act on our behalf. All suppliers must first complete a long and detailed questionnaire relating to their Fair Trade policies.

8. We look for long term relationships with our suppliers and provide them with designs and ideas to benefit their business and keep the orders flowing. By providing repeat orders, advance payments and by making a commitment never to cancel or unduly delay orders helps our suppliers to grow and develop capacity.

9. Namaste promotes Fair Trade through our activities and literature.

10. We are using more and more recycled or environmentally friendly materials in our products which now make up a very large percentage of our product range. Our suppliers are encouraged to respect their environment and to have written and audited environmental policies.