Fair Trade is a system of exchange which honors producers, communities, consumers and the environment. Fair Trade is about empowering marginalized producers in the poorest parts of the world to pull them out of poverty. It’s not only about paying a fair price for a product, it’s about creating a just marketplace where farmers and artisans have an equal foot in both – the process and the profit.
A Fair Price
Artisans receive a guaranteed minimum price for their product, which allows for a living wage in their community. JUSTA pays fair compensation for our artisans´ work. We have determined our fair trade wage by discussing it directly with our artisans, as well as taking into account the national minimum wage, standard of living, and average incomes in the community.
Furthering Education and Skills
Investing in skills-development to teach producers self-sufficiency and sustainability. JUSTA emphasizes continuing education. We teach the necessary skills so that our artisans can be involved in several aspects of production; receiving, dividing, filling, and tracking orders. The Beading Collective women meet once a week to present the produced items and to make plans for following production cycle. During these meetings women learn about accounting, managing, and quality control.
Workers are entitled to safe working conditions, freedom of association and reasonable working hours. Forced child labor is strictly prohibited. JUSTA allows artisans to work from their homes which ensures time for their families and other daily needs. Since many of the women in our collective are also single mothers, being able to balance home and work is an important priority. In addition, working from home allows our artisans to enjoy a comfortable and safe work environment.
Businesses must engage in creating a long-lasting buying relationship with producers. JUSTA has a commitment to our artisans. Several have been working with the project since the beginning. We place a strong value on creating long-term and stable relationships with our artisans. A member of JUSTA is present in Guatemala to continue developing and improving our working partnerships.
Fair Trade Premium
In addition to fair salaries, producer groups receive an additional fair trade premium; the use of which is democratically decided on by the Collective. JUSTA has established a fund for our women’s beading collective to be used for medical and educational needs. For every piece of jewelry the collective makes, JUSTA donates 1 Quetzal to the fund. The use of this money is democratically decided on by the collective and can be divided by all or directed toward one person in need.
Reinvesting in the Local Economy
Producers and buyers engage in conscientious business practices. JUSTA buys local. Our textiles and beading materials are purchased from local markets and artisan shops to ensure that our money stays in the community and supports neighboring small businesses.
Harmful chemicals and practices that result in environmental degradation are prohibited.
JUSTA recycles and reuses. Most of the textiles used in our skirts and bags come from recycled materials and huipiles (indigenous Mayan blouses). Our carbon footprint is not only lowered by the use of recycled materials, but also in our shipping process. Instead of shipping merchandise overseas in individual cartons or boxes, JUSTA chooses to use fiber bags to cut down on shipping waste. We often reuse boxes and packaging.
Products are purchased directly from the producer, eliminating unnecessary middlemen who raise the price for consumers and take away from the producers’ profits. JUSTA buys directly from our artisans. By keeping a tight chain of production, JUSTA is able to pay all participants in this chain a higher percentage.
During retail events we make sure to educate our buyers on Fair Trade and the positive impact it has on the lives of our artisans.