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Pachacuti – Sustainable Fair Trade Management System

Posted: Sunday 10 October 10, 8.00am GMT

Pachacuti is the UK's Panama hat specialist and purveyor of certified Fair Trade clothing and fashion accessories. It is the world’s first company to be certified against the Sustainable Fair Trade Management System, a new worldwide standard for the independent certification of organisations that demonstrate Fair Trade business practice.

Pachacuti is the first company in the world certified by the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) against the Sustainable Fair Trade Management System (SFTMS) Certification, which guarantees social, economic and environmental standards throughout the entire supply chain.

The company had heard for several years that the WFTO would be bringing out a certification for handmade products. This represents important progress within the fashion industry where added value is not determined by raw materials but by all the processes involved in the creation of the finished article.

Currently, a cotton top with a Fairtrade mark only has to use fair trade cotton but the cutting, sewing and embellishment of the garment do not have to adhere to fair standards. Pachacuti was selected for the pilot and became the first company to receive the certification label in December 2009.

Business Benefits

  • Since becoming the first company in the world to be certified against the SFTMS, Pachacuti has experienced increased demand for its products from other retailers, private labels, distributors and wholesalers
  • The company has growing brand awareness, being given a space in Liberty, a world-renowned high-end department store in London, to create a Pachacuti styled area selling its panama hats
  • Export sales have increased with the distributor Marubeni purchasing its panama hats and alpaca accessories for distribution to Japanese stores
  • Getting contracts from major retailers such as leading British fashion designer Paul Smith, with production already having commenced for the summer season 2011

Society Benefits

  • All of Pachacuti’s producers receive a living wage, which enables them to purchase the cañasta familiar: monthly food, accommodation, utilities, transport, medical supplies, access to education, communication and recreational activities
  • Through funds ring fenced by Pachacuti for healthcare, weavers have benefited from eye tests, glasses and cataract operations
  • By combining contemporary design with traditional creative techniques, Pachacuti helps to affirm the women’s indigenous identity, preserve local culture, increase self-esteem and contribute to the preservation of these skills for future generations
  • Local producers in developing countries are linked to EU consumers through increased transparency and traceability of the supply chain

Lessons Learned

  • Inclusive methods: For producers who are illiterate, develop analytical tools and methodologies to obtain feedback in simple, visual forms
  • Understand the supply chain: Analytical methodologies increase understanding of the entire supply chain while areas needing improvement can be identified and put into an action plan
  • Assessment at all levels: Assess upwards through the supply chain to cover UK offices, shipping, packaging, staff/management relationships, green utilities, energy use and recycling
  • Structured framework: The procedures put in place have provided a framework for assessing impact on poverty alleviation and on producers’ personal and community development

Photo of Carry Somers Contributed by
Carry Somers
Founder, Pachacuti

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