We have always prided ourselves on ensuring that we buy only from responsible suppliers. This doesn’t mean all our products are ‘fair trade’, but it does mean that the manufacturer cares about the way their products are made.
Stainless steel water bottles are a good example. We are often asked if products such as stainless steel water bottles or containers can be considered ‘Fair Trade’. In our view, however good the manufacturer is, the way the products are made are not conducive to a fair trade certification. The reality is the only way you can make a stainless steel water bottle is in a factory, so our priority is making sure that the factories that make this sort of item are responsible in a wide range of ways including the way they treat their workers, the way they source their raw materials and the way they dispose of any waste.
Many of our bigger suppliers do have an Ethical Trade Audit on their factory, but that isn’t always something that can be done by the smaller manufacturers and companies that we also want to support.
It is often difficult to quantity how to make this judgement. For us it is usually about asking A LOT of questions - making sure the answers add up and we feel the supplier is being transparent.