If you have ever visited our shop in Newcastle Emlyn, or come across us at a festival or craft fair, you will probably have heard us say “we specialise in Fairtrade – we source our products from BAFTS accredited suppliers.” But have you ever wondered what that means? What is BAFTS and what does it mean that our suppliers are BAFTS accredited? As this week is BAFTS week 2016, its a perfect time to look at this in more detail!
BAFTS stands for The British Association for Fair Trade Shops & Suppliers. BAFTS was formed in 1995 by Aileen Garden who was a retailer in Durham. At that time there was no criteria in the UK for what made something ‘fairtrade’ and people were free to use this designation with no checks or balances. A board was therefore formed to organise the criteria for membership and decide who could become a member. Members of BAFTS work to bring about changes in the status of developing world producers through Fair Trade retailing and campaigning.
“So Fair Trade retailing and campaigning”, you ask, “isn’t that what you do Jill and Lenshina? Why aren’t you members? How do you get to be a member – do you just send off some money and away you go?” Well if it was that simple, even we would have managed to get round to it by now! But no – there is a very long and detailed form to fill in (that changes format just when you think you’ve almost cracked it). I know its long because I’m in the middle of it now. And as you would hope, to become a member you need to demonstrate your commitment to Fairtrade and how you and your business conform to the 10 principle of Fair Trade as defined by the WFTO. (See the video for more details).
How do we measure up against the 10 principles? We think we hit them all, except perhaps number 5 which cover child labour. After all our managing director is five years old and she does pitch in to help her underlings from time to time. But since we are definitely not adversely affecting her well-being, security, educational requirements or needs for play (good luck to anyone who tried!) I think that its OK.
So we will continue to work on completing the paperwork and we WILL get it sent off very soon. Once submitted, our application will go through a process of peer review, and, if our membership is approved, we will still need to demonstrate ongoing improvement throughout our membership. It is only right that the application process is rigorous, since that is how we know that our suppliers are truly supporting Fairtrade. And how you will know that we are too!