About STEP

Label STEP is the fair trade non-profit organization committed to the wellbeing of weavers and workers in the handmade carpet industry

Founded in Switzerland in 1995, STEP’s well-established and comprehensive fair trade requirements – the Label STEP Standard – encompass universal human rights, including the prohibition of child labour; safe working conditions; fair wages; and sustainable, eco-friendly production.

To address the complexity of the handmade carpet industry, it takes a solutions-based approach to tackle issues at their root. STEP guides, coaches and assists carpet makers and producers in understanding and complying with the STEP Standard. Through its country representatives and programs, and with the financial support of its Certified Fair Trade Partners and donors, the humanitarian organization actively supports workplace improvements and empowers weavers with educational empowerment programs that cover such topics as health, safety and financial literacy. These combined efforts aim to improve lives, preserve centuries-old artisanal skills and ensure the handmade carpet industry remains sustainable well into the future.

STEP is the only non-governmental organization of its kind working in all major handmade rug and carpet producing countries where fair trade initiatives and protections are most needed. Its Certified STEP Fair Trade Partners include handmade carpet dealers (importers, wholesalers, designers and retailers) who support STEP’s efforts through royalty payments and a commitment to independent audits of their entire supply chain. Only Certified STEP Fair Trade Partners may promote and sell fair trade carpets bearing the distinguished STEP fair trade label.


Label STEP promises to improve the working and living conditions of carpet weavers and workers. We promote a sustainable carpet industry by ensuring that the highest international labour and environmental standards are upheld.


Label STEP envisions a sustainable fair trade handmade carpet industry that positively affects the lives of weavers, workers and their families and minimizes environmental impact.


 Label STEP’s mission within the handmade carpet industry is to:

  • improve working and living conditions for weavers and workers, while prohibiting child labour;
  • empower weavers and workers;
  • foster environmentally sound production;
  • support and promote sustainable development.


  • fairness
  • ethical behaviour
  • collaboration
  • transparency
  • effectiveness
  • confidentiality & discretion

To learn more, read on about STEP’s important work:

About Fair Trade
The STEP Standard
Where STEP Works

To get involved, contact us.