It’s exciting to hear all the fair trade buzz! However, this buzzword often misses the mark. When rubber hits the road, do all of these “fair trade” companies stand the test? As a Fair Trade Federation member, GOEX is dedicated to following the nine FTF principles established to maintain integrity. The third principle protects the independence of farmers, artisans, producers, and their communities.
This is what it looks like for businesses to actually care for one another.
Protecting a producer’s independence means we have a call to invest our time and resources to help them grow. Success at this third principle might even mean growing apart from us as their capacity increases. It means creating sustainable supply chains. It means sharing marketplace insight. It means spreading best practices and encouraging skill improvement.
When healthy, respectful, and long term relationships like these are built between a business and their producers, space is created for growth.
Our Producer’s Journey: Life S.A.
Life S.A. is a sewing facility new Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where our products are made by skilled Haitian apparel makers. While GOEX is a shareholder in Life S.A., and the largest investor, our goal has never been to own a factory. We have worked over the past three years to train and empower local management to run day-to-day operations, while GOEX functions as a manufacturer’s rep — bringing new customers to the factory.
Our primary, quantifiable goal is to generate at least 1,000+ jobs in living wage conditions at Life S.A. and in Kansas City over the next five years.
Achieving this goal requires a portfolio of customers both for manufacturing in Haiti and for custom garments in Kansas City. While the two businesses function as partners, we want them to be independently sustainable and supported by customers that meet the unique capabilities of each. This goal requires continued empowerment of local management and creative ways to attract new customers. It also requires excellent coordination and communication between teams in the U.S. and in Haiti, ensuring we all understand capacity, strengths and forecasts.
If we’re successful in our goals of generating demand for our products and services, and therefore creating 1,000+ jobs, our profits will fund the care for thousands of vulnerable children in the U.S. and in Haiti. Ultimately, we seek to break the cycle of poverty by providing jobs and supporting the care and education of local children in the communities where we make.
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