SpiritualScents works with Tibetan, Indian and Nepalese artisans via our Fair Trade practices. Our importer of our Tibetan products such as our Malas and Singing Bowls are founding members of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF), which is devoted to creating ethical relationships through better wages and working conditions for the artisans and people who produce these products.
In accordance with FTF principles, they’re committed to the following principles:
1. Ongoing Orders and Long Term Relationships
An important aspect of our relationship with producers is to provide a continual and steady stream of orders and payments. Our importers encourage and maintain long term relationships with the artisans and groups they work with, some of whom who have been working in this capacity for over 15 years. When sales of an artisan group's products begin to lag, they consider other marketable items for them to make, avoiding leaving any group behind by investing in the development of new designs for them to produce.
2. A Fair Price and Wage
Our importer is committed to ensuring that the artisan and/or producer group is paid a fair and living wage in the context of the local economy. They work with the producers to balance the costs of skill, labor, materials and the production process with appropriate profit margins and income for their community in order to create a dignified and sustainable business atmosphere.
3. Health and Safety
Our importer visit producers and exporter facilities in India and Nepal at least once a year. To the best of their abilities, they review the working conditions at the production facilities to effect improvements such as better ventilation or improved lighting. They routinely ask each group to reply to an in-depth questionnaire addressing health and safety concerns, and have even begin to do lead testing when needed.
4. Providing Technical Support, Design Assistance and Market Training
Our importers continually invest in new design development and production training. One or more of their U.S. design staff visits production centers at least once a year to introduce and review information on design and market trends, develop new product ideas, and promote improved production techniques, communication, quality control oversight and working conditions as appropriate.
5. Promoting the Use of Sustainable and Recycled Materials
Many of the Tibetan and other products we offer are made with fibers that are sustainable harvested or recycled. We make every attempt to avoid excessive packaging and use natural dyes and handmade materials whenever possible. Because we choose to work with groups that are already engaged in fair trade practices, most groups have systems for environmentally sound ways to dispose of waste products.
6. Promoting Business Opportunities for Special Producer Groups
Our importers make a concerted effort to create business opportunities for producer groups that might not otherwise have the chance to sell in the export market. These generally include groups that are located in more isolated areas, groups that employ less educated artisans such as recently arrived refugees from Tibet, groups that employ disadvantaged peoples, and groups that have unique talents but are not connected to more mainstream business outlets. Above all we seek to channel business to groups that are committed to their local community and fair trade practices.
7. Promoting Community Efforts and Supporting Humanitarian Organizations
Most of the producer groups we work with manage and promote their own health, educational or cultural preservation initiatives. Our importers work to generate income for their projects through product sales and, in some cases, makes direct contributions.