Namaste - fair trade policy
Namaste was inspired by a journey through India in 1995 on reconditioned ex-Indian Army EnfieldBullet motorbikes. In search of some adventure, founder Sam Brummitt, his sister and her partner flew off to Kathmandu with a round the world ticket. One day in Rajasthan, they got intoconversation with the owner of a small textile business who suggested they went back home to England and started a business. Today Ganpat is a life long friend and is still one of Namaste's key suppliers.Lives were changed by this chance encounter and a business was started which was named Namaste after the greeting which was so often extended to them. Some say it simply means "Hello," but a better translation, perhaps, is "I greet the spirit within you." Our philosophy is simple; fantastic, ethically sourced and yet commercial products to maximise sales and therefore maximise benefits to both our suppliers and customers.
Namaste is still a relatively small business with a strong ethical policy at its core. We are not perfect but we believe our policies are consistent and transparent. We aim to buy from small scale producers who use largely natural materials and traditional techniques to produce beautiful and interesting articles. All Namaste products are fairly traded. We believe that the best way to reduce poverty is through trade.
Namaste aim to help workers to move from income insecurity to economic self sufficiency. The manu-facture of goods for Namaste generates income for the local community and we hope that these benefits should enrich the quality of life of the local community. In developing markets, such as Nepal, Indonesia and Thailand, we deal with only primary producers. Many do not have the capital to be able to fulfil the order, so we make an advance payment for materials, workers and whatever else is necessary.Namaste also buys from some larger enterprises. From the point of view of the workers there can actually be advantages in working for a larger organisation such as greater job security and extra benefits. These might include free healthcare for the worker and their family and free or subsidised education. We invest heavily in travelling to see our suppliers several times a year and speak to them regularly. In addition each supplier is asked to fill out a comprehensive questionnaire which details 38 questions relating to fair trade production standards. We hope that this ensures that all Namaste suppliers meet internationally recognised fair trade standards. Namaste is recognised by BAFTS, the British Association for Fair Trade Shops as a fair trade importer.
All Namaste suppliers ensure that their workers are paid a fair price per piece, which is at or above the national average or in accordance with national laws, and we strive to make sure that men and women are paid the same rate. Employees should have security of employment and freedom of association. We aim to ensure that no children under the age of 16 are involved in factory based production for Namaste. We also seeks to minimise our impact on the environment. Namaste products all use azo-free dyes. These create a safer working environment and are better for the environment in general. Many of our products are made entirely from recycled materials, which are used wherever possible. Namaste supports the Esther Benjamins Trust (www.ebtrust.org.uk).
The Namaste Team