Our Fair Trade Sourcing
If you Google the terms “fair trade jewelry,” our Fair Jewellery Action website (www.fairjewelry.org), will come up as number one in the organic rankings. But beneath our site, a number of other websites which sell “fair trade jewelry” will be displayed. What exactly does that mean? The World Fair Trade Association (formerly IFAT) and the Fair Trade Federation (FTF) lists jewelry as a product category. In doing so, they endorse efforts of small producers who abide by fair trade principals to market themselves as “fair trade jewelry.” Yet they do not exactly define what the making of fair trade jewelry might entail in the actual workshop. While general fair trade principals are relatively easy to define, the actual standards pose a more difficult challenge. If you ask companies that sell fair trade jewelry where their silver comes from, how their production facilities are ventilated, what chemicals are used in their production and how waste products are disposed of, it is unlikely that they will be able to tell you in any great detail.
(This is the production room where the chain is made.) Marc Choyt, co-owner of Reflective Images and co-founder of the Fair Jewellery Action website, spearheads an international committee that is developing fair trade manufacturing principles and standards. In addition, Reflective Images was perhaps the first company in the jewelry sector started producing domestically and in Bali with entirely recycled sterling silver and gold. We manufacture all our gold over silver jewelry and most of our sterling silver jeweler in our Santa Fe, New Mexico studio. However, we do manufacture chain and a limited number of component pieces in Bali with 100% recycled sterling silver which we ship over there.
The factory – located in Denpasar, Indonesia – follows these policies:
• Entry level people earn slightly higher than minimum wage until they are trained, unless they come with a skill level and then they commence work at a commensurate rate. • Average salaried workers earn about 75% above minimum wage. • Average piece workers earn 37% above minimum wage. Benefits • Free optional housing for single workers. At present, about fifty non-local employees who live outside of Denpassar (Bali’s capitol), live in factory housing.. Presently, the company cannot afford to house married couples or families.
(The Casting Room) • Payment of the local village residency tax, 10% of the minimum wage, which is in most instances a responsibility of the employee. • A medical fund. • A free lunch. This program is provided for factory workers, which as of the fall, 2007, was about 100 plates of food a day. Filtered water for all is also provided. • The company has a training and skill upgrading program. • It meets or exceeds all government labor laws. We can confidently state that this factory’s workers are among the best rewarded in the region. It is a source of pride for us that workers compete for positions in this factory and those who are employed there are held in high regard by their peers. Socially Responsible Practices
(Here’s where the chain is inspected for quality) In order to control the conditions that the work is carried out and how pieces are made, almost all of the production at this factory is in house. In rare circumstances that they do outsource work, they thoroughly check the vendor’s premises and working conditions beforehand. The company does not use any materials which are prohibited under the CITIES agreement for trade in endangered species, which includes all forms of corals, except for fossilized coral. They attempt to buy all raw materials from reputable and legitimate suppliers. When appropriate the company gets involved in community events and provides help and sponsorship to local cultural, charity and environmental concerns. They also recruit workers from the local area, working with the village council to identify people who most need work and prioritize them for training programs and jobs. Acting locally helps to build a strong, stable and more aware community. According to the owner of the factory, “We see a growing awareness in the world and amongst consumers in general desiring to be responsible citizens, and we believe that these people should be given the opportunity to purchase product they can use with the knowledge and peace of mind that comes from knowing it was produced by responsibly acting organizations. We want to reward and encourage people who encompass this thinking and like to think that wearers/end purchasers of our products will get many years of enjoyment wearing/using quality items that they know to be made and supplied in a responsible way."