WHAT IS COMMUNITY FAIR TRADE?
We launched Community Fair Trade in 1987, but back then it was known as Trade Not Aid. Over 30 years later, this ethos is still going strong. From handcrafted shea butter in Ghana to recycled paper gift bags in Nepal, we source ingredients and accessories from across the planet, which provides vital financial independence for our partners. Many of them are women living in rural areas, with limited economic opportunities. This helps drive our goal of business as a force for good, and we’re incredibly proud of it.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT TO FAIR TRADE?
Fair trade helps producers in developing countries secure good standards of trading, including fair prices, when working with companies in developed countries. Community Fair Trade is our own bespoke programme, founded and run solely by The Body Shop. It’s the biggest fair trade programme in the cosmetics industry. Having our own programme makes a difference because it gives us an authentic connection to our producers and suppliers. We know them, personally. We know their families and communities. This makes the programme all the more important to us.
OUR COMMUNITY FAIR TRADE PROGRAMME
We strive to develop long-term trade partnerships, and have worked with many of our suppliers for decades. We pay fair prices and offer favourable trade terms, targeted producer support and access to an international trade market. Some suppliers also receive an additional fund to invest in community projects such as education, healthcare and sanitation. Hundreds of thousands of people have benefited from these projects, including the families and neighbours of producers.
We’re incredibly proud of what we and our suppliers have achieved, and we aim to continue creating positive social and environmental impact in communities where our trade can be most beneficial in the future.
Community Fair Trade is every bit as relevant and important today as it was in 1987. All over the world, people still don’t have access to decent working conditions and fair trading practices. Community Fair Trade is our heritage and it will always be the heart of The Body Shop.
OUR GLOBAL COMMUNITY FAIR TRADE PROGRAMME
We seek out expert producers, rural farming cooperatives and traditional artisans who are experts in their field. We work with thousands of producers worldwide and the programme brings real benefits to their wider communities. Take a look at our supplier map to see where we source our ingredients and accessory products from.
WHAT COMMUNITY FAIR TRADE MEANS FOR YOU
Community Fair Trade is more than just how we get our ingredients. It benefits all of us. We get direct access to high-quality ingredients and accessories from around the world, which means your purchase benefits people and communities in so many ways. We want you to know the full story behind the products you love. Read our success stories to find out how the products you buy are having a positive social impact around the world.
We’re really proud to have achieved wide-reaching economic and social impact over the years through this programme. We choose to work with suppliers who share our pioneering spirit. Income and investment from our trade has enabled communities to invest in some truly innovative and impactful outreach projects.
SHEA BUTTER FROM GHANA
PROVIDING FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE FOR GHANAIAN WOMEN
We’ve sourced Community Fair Trade shea butter from Tungteiya Women’s Association in northern Ghana since 1994. 640 women from 11 villages handcraft shea butter using an 18-stage process of traditional techniques, passed from mother to daughter for generations.
Receiving a fair price is providing an independent income for the women, and also helping to empower them through increased confidence and respect in their community. We also pay a premium price to help fund community projects that positively impact the lives of 49,000 people across 11 villages in the wider community. Long-term investment has enabled the community to build 7 schools that educate approximately 1,200 students every year, and provide access to safe water and healthcare facilities.
GIFT PAPER AND BOXES FROM NEPAL
PROVIDING FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE FOR GHANAIAN WOMEN
Our Community Fair Trade handcrafted paper and gift packaging is sustainably sourced from Get Paper Industry in Kathmandu, Nepal. We’re really proud to have worked with GPI since 1989. These pro artisans use waste and recycled materials (like cotton off-cuts and banana tree stems) to create the paper.
GPI employ more women than men and pay them a fair, equal wage, making sure they receive equal benefits. They’ve also pioneered social projects to benefit the whole community around Bansbari. They helped send children from the poorest families to school, and raised education levels for girls through their ‘Send Your Daughters to School’ campaign and scholarships.
In recent years, GPI have pioneered initiatives to raise awareness of human trafficking through facilitating girls’ groups in local villages. They’re now also using their voice on a wider scale, by organising nationwide school essay competitions on the topic of human trafficking.
RECYCLED PLASTIC FROM INDIA
TACKLING THE PLASTIC CRISIS DIFFERENTLY
An estimated 3 billion people around the world live in countries without formal waste management – that’s almost half the planet’s population. This has led to an estimated 1.5 million ‘waste pickers’ - unsung heroes who work tirelessly to clean up their city’s streets in this informal sector. Waste pickers are mostly made up of ‘dalits’ (formally known as ‘untouchables’), the lowest social group in India’s caste system. This means that they are vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation and poor working conditions.
In 2019, we launched our Community Fair Trade partnership with Plastics for Change to buy recycled plastic from waste pickers in India, to use in our plastic packaging. Our trade provides a fair price for plastic in a notoriously exploitative industry, giving vital stability to marginalised waste pickers. The initiative won Ethical Corporation’s 2019 ‘Plastics Innovation Award’ and has been recognised in the industry for its unique approach to addressing both the environmental and human side of the plastic crisis.
OUR COMMITMENT WITH SUPPLIERS
Our Community Fair Trade programme is independently checked and verified by ECOCERT (a fair trade assessment agency), which involves regular auditing of suppliers and of our own business operations. Our commitment to suppliers is outlined in our Sustainable Sourcing Charter, which states how we envision sustainable supply chains and confirms the core principles of our Community Fair Trade programme.
OUR CORE PRINCIPLES
A FAIR PRICE
This will be established through consultation with producers, and will be reviewed periodically. Each supply chain is unique. We follow an external fair price benchmark, or if this does not exist, we develop a fair cost model specific to that supply chain.
Where appropriate, we will support community projects through price premiums or in some instances, direct investment.
FAVOURABLE TRADING TERMS
Producer groups will receive favourable terms of trade. For example, early payment if needed.
TARGETED SUPPLIER SUPPORT
We aim to provide support or training if needed. This could be direct support from The Body Shop staff or through external stakeholders such as local NGOs.
We provide forecasts to enable Producer Groups to make informed decisions about production levels and business planning.
MANAGEMENT OF INGREDIENT SUPPLY SHORTAGES
The development and maintenance of supply chains in marginalised communities is a complex, long term activity. From time to time, we experience unavoidable supply chain issues with our Community Fair Trade suppliers that lead to raw material shortages. This means that in order to fulfil customer demand for certain products, we sometimes have to blend our Community Fair Trade ingredients with those from other sources to account for shortages. As our Community Fair Trade partners and relationships are very important to us, we always aim to protect the on-going demand for the Community Fair Trade supplier’s ingredient while we resolve the issue. In doing so, we work to our internal standard operating procedures (governed by our Sustainable Sourcing Charter and its principles) to ensure rapid resolution with minimal impact on the community.
SOFT LANDING EXIT STRATEGY
In the event that we need to stop trading with a Community Fair Trade supplier, we will aim to give at least 12 months’ notice of the last order for the product. We will discuss ways to support and minimise negative impact on their organisations, and collaboratively build 'exit strategies' to help them plan for the future
WHAT COMMUNITY FAIR TRADE MEANS FOR YOU
All over the world, people still don’t have access to safe and secure working conditions. Ethical trade is about being confident that the products and services we buy haven’t been made at the expense of workers’ rights in our global supply chains. Ensuring our products are made in fair and decent working conditions is very important to us.
OUR SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT PROGRAMME
We believe in business as a force for good, and we’re always striving to empower people and the planet. This forms the basis of our Sustainable Procurement Programme. We believe that all workers in our supply chain should be free from exploitation and discrimination and enjoy conditions of freedom, security and equity.
We only trade with suppliers that meet our Sustainable Procurement standards to ensure workers remain free from exploitation. We ask all our suppliers to sign a Code of Conduct to ensure they formally commit to upholding areas like these:
- Health and safety
- Safe and hygienic working conditions
- Never using child labour
- Living wages
- Working hours that are not excessive
- No discrimination
- Regular employment is provided
- People are treated with respect
OUR HISTORY WITH ETHICAL TRADE
Since The Body Shop was founded in 1976, we’ve joined forces with like-minded companies, voluntary organisations and trade unions to develop a leading Sustainable Procurement Programme.
In 1998 we became founding members of The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) – a membership organisation where we work individually and with fellow members to tackle complex questions about the steps companies should take to trade ethically, and how to make a positive difference to workers' lives.
To drive better visibility across our supply chains, we’re also members of an online responsible sourcing platform called Sedex. Here suppliers can share their audit reports and other information on their human rights practices - not just with us, but also with customers.
Our 2022 Modern Slavery Statement outlines action that we took during 2022 to prevent and address all forms of modern slavery in our global operations and supply chain. It reviews our activities and achievements against stated targets in our 2021 Modern Slavery Statement.