Our producer, Thanapara Swallows Development Society, is an internationally approved member of the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO), ECOTA Fair Trade Forum (Bangladesh), and Bangla Crafts. The organization adheres to WFTO’s 10 principles of fair trade. All staff are aware of the meaning of fair trade and are (anonymously) surveyed regularly on the company’s adherence to the principles. The handicraft centre at Thanapara Swallows not only allows community members to pursue regular employment and training, but a portion of the profits go towards the simple things that we take for granted – education and childcare for their children and basic healthcare, giving disadvantaged rural communities a sense of hope, and much needed dignity and strength.
Through our work with Swallows we are fully committed to upholding the 10 principles of Fair Trade, as outlined by the WFTO (World Fair Trade Organisation), which are:
1: Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers
2: Transparency and Accountability
3: Fair Trading Practices
4: Payment of a Fair Price
5: Ensuring no Child Labor and Forced Labor
6: Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Freedom of Association
7: Ensuring Good Working Conditions
8: Providing Capacity Building
9: Promoting Fair Trade
10: Respect for the Environment
Bhalo uses a number of ‘slow’ techniques in our work, using exclusively hand-loomed cotton fabrics as well as hand embroidery and applique. Hand looms produce zero energy impact when compared to the same job produced on a power loom. We employ waste minimization techniques such as re-use of all scraps for a variety of purposes, and often reuse leftover textiles from prior seasons to create new garments. Our workshop in Bangladesh employs sustainable practices, such as natural lighting, and ventilation, water recycling facilities, on-site composting and community garden directly linked to staff kitchen. Azo chemical-free dyes are used to avoid toxic runoff into local water sources.