Free shipping on orders over $100 with discount code FREESHIP

Shopping cart

Your cart is currently empty

Fair Trade and Beyond: Updating our Sourcing Policy

  • Posted on
  • By LynAnne
  • 0
Fair Trade and Beyond: Updating our Sourcing Policy

We are expanding our product lines beyond fair trade goods. Here is why.

We started this HumanKind Fair Trade enterprise in 2009, fueled by a deep passion to create economic justice for artisans around the world. For 15 years, we have focused our mission on purchasing from skilled makers in the Global South, largely the continents of Africa, Asia, and South America. By most definitions, the term “fair trade” specifically refers to purchasing from individuals in these parts of the world, areas in which large populations lack access to employment and often live in poverty with little opportunity to improve their lives or the livelihoods of their children. Fair trade makes an impact for people living in these environments who simply need an avenue to sell their beautiful handcrafted goods. Earning fair, sustainable income makes all the difference.


Through the years, we are beginning to think about fair trade and economic justice in new ways. There are people all over the world, including here in the Global North, who face barriers to sustainable employment, whether because of limited education, a lack of language skills, or systemic racism. Even within our own country there are populations who are marginalized and need extra support in accessing fair and sustainable income.


We are also seeing an increase in companies that are producing goods with great attention to environmental and economic justice. While their products might not be handcrafted goods, these companies are operating in a way that aligns with fair trade values of providing living-wage employment and caring for the environment. These companies are proving that business can be done in an ethical way, and we want to showcase their goods in our shop.


With these realities in mind, we have adopted a new sourcing policy as we look at expanding our product lines beyond a traditional definition of fair trade. We are happy to share this new policy with you:




Sourcing Policy

This policy is aligned with the Fair Trade Federation’s Sourcing Requirements for its retail members.


HumanKind will source at least 75% of its inventory, measured as a percentage of total annual wholesale purchases, in accordance with the Fair Trade Federation principles. This may include a combination of products purchased from members of the FTF or the WFTO and products purchased from non-member organizations as long as those organizations abide by Fair Trade Federation principles.


The remaining 25% of inventory must be verifiably produced in a way that does not harm people, the environment, or cultures. When selecting suppliers, we use the following criteria as a guide:


1. Enterprises that are providing sustainable employment for producers in the Global North who are socially or economically marginalized.

2. Enterprises that have a strong policy of giving back to support marginalized communities and addressing injustice.

3. Items that are sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives to conventionally-produced goods. This could include reusable alternatives to single-use products, or items produced in a way that minimizes environmental impact in production.

4. Items that have an educational value, particularly in the areas of global issues, social justice, sustainability, and other themes compatible with fair trade values.




Rest assured that every brand we choose to carry is vetted to ensure that their ethical practices are in line with our values. Over the years, we have established buying relationships with several enterprises that are not specifically fair trade, but fall under the requirements for the remaining 25% listed above. This has historically been 5-6% of our products, and we knew we needed to solidify our sourcing policy to expand beyond that. Here are some of the non-fair trade brands we currently carry and why we chose them:


FORAI - Jewelry that is handcrafted by refugees and immigrants that have resettled in St. Louis Missouri. This non-profit started as a way to support women who recently settled in the USA and face barriers to employment, such as lack of education and English language skills.

[ Learn More about Forai ]



PEN + PILLAR - Cards and paper goods that are printed in North Carolina. They care for the environment by using only FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper and care for people by donating a percentage of their proceeds to refugee resettlement organizations in their area.

[ See our Pen + Pillar Collection ]



KOOSHOO - Hair ties made from organic cotton and natural rubber. We love that these are a plastic-free alternative to mainstream plastic hair ties. They have several certifications for their raw materials including GOTS organic certified cotton and rubber certified by the Fair Rubber Association.

[ See our KooShoo Hair Ties ]



BOOKS - For many years we have carried a selection of books that bring awareness to global issues and sustainability. We believe that books are a powerful educational tool to encourage new ways of thinking that make us more compassionate human beings.

[ See our Educational Book Collection ]




As we move forward, the vast majority of our products will continue to be sourced from skilled artisans around the world who depend on fair trade buyers for their income. It is still our primary mission to support these people and bring their goods to our community, but we are looking forward to expanding our product lines and carrying a more extensive selection of ethically-produced goods!


  1. Gina Whitaker Gina Whitaker

    These are wonderful goals, and I am proud to know we have a place to spend our money that we know does some good in a very tangible way!!

  2. Barbara Neuman Barbara Neuman

    Thank you for this explanation and for your thoughtful expansion. I had no idea that Fair Trade items were only from the Global South and there are plenty of other marginalized populations.

Leave a comment
* Your email address will not be published