The Fairtrade Textile Standard in India

More than fair – strengthening labour rights and gradually introducing living wages. Sustainability pioneer BRANDS Fashion was the first company in the world to offer products certified according to the Fairtrade Textile Standard.

Fair above all. Achieving success together.

S. Krishnaveri works in the Green Factory in India, which is certified according to the Fairtrade Textile Standard.

We have committed to one of the most demanding certifications around: the Fairtrade Textile Standard. This new label represents greater fairness and equity along the entire textile value chain. The objective is to strengthen workers’ rights and ensure they receive living wages.

A living wage that includes social security benefits allows workers to meet their basic needs.

Rabea Schafrick | Head of Sustainability

Intensive training sessions for both workers and employees have been provided at the production facility in India since 2017 with the aim of raising awareness and disseminating information about fair pay. The introduction of living wages has also been discussed and agreed as part of specific action plans. In addition to ensuring fair working conditions, the participating companies must meet equally stringent environmental standards.

Minimum wage ≠ living wage

A country’s minimum wage is usually laid down by law for each of the different industries. However, a minimum wage is not necessarily enough for workers to live off. For textile workers, the ‘living wage’ is much higher than the minimum wage and covers all of their basic needs. It enables them to afford decent accommodation and nutritious food with enough left over for healthcare, education, clothing, transport and savings.

BRANDS Fashion achieved compliance with the standards set out by this new Fairtrade label with the help of the German development agency GIZ. The development project was funded via the develoPPP programme launched by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development to support business initiatives that contribute to development policy objectives.

In 2021 we were finally able to get all of the participating companies certified in line with the demanding standard. In doing so we established the first ever supply chain to commit to paying a living wage under the programme. This commitment will be regularly monitored and certified by Flocert, Fairtrade’s independent certification institute. The first textiles to bear the Fairtrade Textile Standard label went to market in October 2021.

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The world’s first collection certified in accordance with the Fairtrade Textile Standard: our fan merch for VfB Stuttgart.

A winning combination. 2022 Fairtrade Award-winning, in fact.

Presentation of the Fairtrade Textile Standard award in 2022. From left to right: Silke Rosebrock, Mathias Diestelmann, Anne Menden & Anke Engelke. Copyright: Fairtrade Germany / Tim Keweritsch

In 2022 we won over the jury with our spectacular commitment to fair trade: the world’s first supply chain to be certified in line with the Fairtrade Textile Standard. In recognition of our efforts we were granted the Fairtrade Award in the Industry category.

We work hard with our partners and customers to establish fair trade as a standard. We can only achieve change by working together.

Silke Rosebrock | CCO BRANDS Fashion

BRANDS Fashion can lay claim to a number of successes: since 2016 we have produced over 10 million items that are Fairtrade cotton standard certified and, in some cases, have even been Fairtrade Textile Standard certified since late 2021. During this period we collected more than 1 million euros in Fairtrade premiums that are paid to the smallholder cooperatives on top of the purchase price.

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