At ibuTrade we aim to nurture the talent and resources that enable us to provide you with our unique range of gifts. Our producers are an amazing bunch of people; their skill, tenacity and vitality must be respected, not exploited. Accordingly, ethical trade is the foundation of the ibuTrade ethos. Products deemed socially ethical are those that are created in accordance with Fair Trade principles. To learn more about individual ibu producers and how they meet Fair Trade criteria, please visit our Producers page.
What is Fair Trade?
is an alternative approach to trade, particularly international trade that has arisen from grave inequities in the mainstream free trade model. These inequities enable developed countries to continue to progress and prosper while essentially limiting or debilitating the trade opportunities of those most in need of development.
How is Free Trade Unfair?
Free trade assumes that all trading partners have an equal bargaining position. This is clearly not the case. The developed nations of the world are “developed” as they were able to industrialise before the new wave of
trade liberalisation that emerged in the early 1980’s. They could thus establish their domestic industries using trade protection measures such as tariffs and other import restrictions. Their markets were protected from competition in their infancy and once they were ripe for the international market, they could compete effectively.
Developing countries today do not have this luxury. Free
allows the industrialised nations access to the mega-markets of developing countries, such as India and China, without reciprocating the privilege. This restricted access is the direct result of trade liberalisation, as developing countries in most cases have yet to cultivate the capital, skills and infrastructure required to compete internationally.
The inherent inequality in trade negotiations between developed countries and the least developed countries is further exacerbated by the former’s dependence on aid and investment from the latter. The World Trade Organisation has itself noted that “ It is psychologically very difficult to oppose those who are giving you money—the dynamic is that of bribery”.
ibuTrade adheres to strict criteria when transacting with our artisans. We aim to foster a fair trading environment and in doing so engender productive and positive trade relationships. We are particularly focused on the handicrafts sector as it is this area that has the potential to benefit countless marginalised women throughout the world, including indigenous women of Australia.
Due to cultural, educational, economical and at times, political reasons, women are often excluded from mainstream economies. Their responsibilities reside in the home; though often extend to financially supporting their households as well. In these conditions, the handicrafts sector serves as a crucial source of income for women, valuing their unique skills while enabling them the flexibility to fulfill their traditional nurturing roles. They can be mothers/wives and providers and they can do so with dignity and security.
Fair Trade criteria
The Fair Trade
criteria that ibuTrade follows is derived from the International Fair Trade
Association (IFAT) and is as follows:
• Guaranteed fair price for products: Materials, time and skills are considered when arriving at a price. The price is also determined by the producer. One of the precepts of Fair Trade
is that of a living wage. A “living wage” is relative to the producers’ home country economy. Although most economically disadvantaged people reside in developing countries with comparatively lower production costs, we do not limit our sources to those countries to acquire cheaper products. As an Australian based Fair Trade
retailer, we cannot disregard the marginalized people of our own country. We value the unique beauty and quality of Aboriginal handicrafts and hope to share them with our ethically minded customers.
• Self determination: Through transacting with the actual producer, or self-managed representative body such as a cooperative, we ensure that the benefits of trade go to the producer.
• Occupational health and Safety: We ensure that our producer partners are able to work in a safe and healthy environment.
• No child or forced labour: We do not trade with any individual or organization that uses child or forced labour.
• Environmental sustainability: We promote environmentally sustainable practices by encouraging the use of recycled and renewable materials and by supporting traditional methods of production.
• ibuTrade also donates 5% of annual profit to charitable organisations. See the newsletter for details.
retailers are plentiful in Europe and the United States. ibuTrade hopes to play a role in allowing Australian consumers the same luxury of choice.
Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand (FTAANZ)
WTO Trade Liberalisation Statistics
International Fair Trade Association (IFAT)