dZi is a Founding Member of the Fair Trade Federation
The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) was formed in 1994 as a trade association that strengthens and promotes North American organizations fully committed to fair trade. The FTF is part of the global fair trade movement, building equitable and sustainable trading partnerships and creating opportunities to alleviate poverty.
As a founding member of the FTF, dZi strives to create ethical business relationships to promote better wages and working conditions for the artisans and people who produce and manage the production of our products.
dZi fully commits to the following 9 Fair Trade Federation principles...
(The Principle and its description as provided by the FTF are listed in italics)
1. Create Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers
Fair Trade is a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Members create social and economic opportunities through trading partnerships with marginalized producers. Members place the interests of producers and their communities as the primary concern of their enterprise.
dZi makes 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 or disabled 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.
2. Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationships
Fair Trade involves relationships that are open, fair, consistent, and respectful. Members show consideration for both customers and producers by sharing information about the entire trading chain through honest and proactive communication. They create mechanisms to help customers and producers feel actively involved in the trading chain. If problems arise, members work cooperatively with fair trade partners and other organizations to implement solutions.
dZi tells the story of its artisans through its product labeling, catalog and website. The company educates both its customers and its artisan suppliers about the many links in the supply chain so that all can understand and overcome the challenges of export and import. dZi facilitates visits by its artisans to the US market for training programs, and helps customers who wish to visit production centers in India or Nepal.
3. Build Capacity
Fair Trade is a means to develop producers’ independence. Members maintain long-term relationships based on solidarity, trust, and mutual respect, so that producers can improve their skills and their access to markets. Members help producers to build capacity through proactive communication, financial and technical assistance, market information, and dialogue. They seek to share lessons learned, to spread best practices, and to strengthen the connections between communities, including among producer groups.
dZi has worked with several of its producer partners for over 25 years! When sales of any group's products begin to lag, the company considers other marketable items for them to make. dZi avoids leaving any group behind by investing in the development of new designs for them to produce.
dZi continually invests in new design development and shares knowledge about better production techniques with its producers. One or more of the company’s design staff visits production centers at least once a year to introduce and review information on new design and market trends, develop new product ideas, and promote improved production techniques, communication, quality control oversight and working conditions as appropriate.
4. Promote Fair Trade
Fair Trade encourages an understanding by all participants of their role in world trade. Members actively raise awareness about Fair Trade and the possibility of greater justice in the global economic system. They encourage customers and producers to ask questions about conventional and alternative supply chains and to make informed choices. Members demonstrate that trade can be a positive force for improving living standards, health, education, the distribution of power, and the environment in the communities with which they work.
dZi actively promotes Fair Trade at the trade fairs it participates in by discussing its work and the work of the FTF with customers and other visitors. dZi highlights information about the Fair Trade work being done by its artisan groups in its marketing materials, and regularly discusses the Fair Trade agenda with its producer partners.
dZi acts as a bridge to NGOs and other independent groups that seek to support or promote Tibetan culture such as the International Campaign for Tibet in Washington, DC, and Tibet House in New York City.
5. Pay Promptly and Fairly
Fair Trade empowers producers to set prices within the framework of the true costs of labor, time, materials, sustainable growth, and related factors. Members take steps to ensure that producers have the capacity to manage this process. Members comply with or exceed international, national, local, and, where applicable, Fair Trade Minimum standards for their employees and producers. Members seek to ensure that income is distributed equitably at all times, particularly equal pay for equal work by women and men. Members ensure prompt payment to all of their partners. Producers are offered access to interest-free advance payment for handmade goods, or pre-finance of agricultural harvest with favorable terms.
dZi's 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. We 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.
6. Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions
Fair Trade means a safe and healthy working environment free of forced labor. Throughout the trading chain, Members cultivate workplaces that empower people to participate in the decisions that affect them. Members seek to eliminate discrimination based on race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, age, marital, or health status. Members support workplaces free from physical, sexual, psychological, or verbal harassment or abuse.
dZi staff visits producer and exporter facilities in India and Nepal at least once a year. To the best of our abilities we review the working conditions at each of the production facilities we are able to visit and promote improvements such as better ventilation or improved lighting when considered necessary. We routinely ask each group to reply to an in-depth questionnaire addressing health and safety concerns. We comply with US consumer product safety protocol. We test for lead and ensure the use of safe colors and Azo-free dyes. We choose materials and packaging that are as sustainable as possible.
7. Ensure the Rights of Children
Fair Trade means that all children have the right to security, education, and play. Throughout the trading chain, Members respect and support the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as local laws and social norms. Members disclose the involvement of children in production. Members do not support child trafficking and exploitative child labor.
None of dZi’s producer partners employs children in production. In fact, all of our producers assist their artisans with efforts to educate themselves and their children. Two of the company’s producer partners finance and manage a school for the children of their staff and workers and for children in the local community.
8. Cultivate Environmental Stewardship
Fair Trade seeks to offer current generations the ability to meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Members actively consider the implications of their decisions on the environment and promote the responsible stewardship of resources. Members reduce, reuse, reclaim, and recycle materials wherever possible. They encourage environmentally sustainable practices throughout the entire trading chain.
The company makes every attempt to avoid excessive packaging, use natural or non-toxic dyes, source locally and sustainably harvested materials, and use non-mechanized handmade production processes whenever possible. Most of the groups have systems for environmentally sound ways to dispose of waste products such as used dyes (all dyes are Azo free). Every few years we work with the producers to re-evaluate and upgrade existing facilities and working conditions to promote better environmentally sensitive practices and outcomes.
9. Respect Cultural Identity
Fair Trade celebrates the cultural diversity of communities, while seeking to create positive and equitable change. Members respect the development of products, practices, and organizational models based on indigenous traditions and techniques to sustain cultures and revitalize traditions. Members balance market needs with producers’ cultural heritage.
dZi’s founding mission was to promote awareness and preservation of Tibetan culture through the production and sale of traditional and innovative Tibetan-style crafts. As its producer network expanded to other groups in Nepal and India, dZi also promoted the use of the unique and indigenous talents and production techniques of these groups.
And In dZi’s Massachusetts office…
All qualifying full time staff are provided with a company sponsored health care program.
dZi employs unique personal and team building tools in our workplace, and encourages employees to grow within their positions.
We use recycled paper for printing our catalog and for general office use, as well as making every effort to recycle materials from our office and shipments.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us:
• Email: info@dZi.com
• Phone: 413-527-4500 (Easthampton, Massachusetts)
• Office Hours are 9-5:30, M-F, EST
- Please leave a message if you can’t reach one of our staff.