The Label STEP Standard contains the most comprehensive fair trade rules of the carpet industry
Label STEP can look back on 25 years of experience in monitoring and improving working conditions in carpet production. This know-how and experience is condensed in the Label STEP Standard, which provides the most comprehensive and strictest social and environmental guidelines in the carpet industry.
Adapted to the production circumstances – from work at home to small workshops and loom shed, larger manufacturing plants to more mechanized factories – Label STEP monitors up to 90 specific compliance criteria that need to be met or aspired to. These can be summed up in ten ground rules for fair trade in handmade carpets:
- §1 Protection of workers‘ health and safety
- §2 Payment of fair wages and protection of agreed wages
- §3 Prohibition of child labour
- §4 No forms of discrimination
- §5 Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
- §6 No forced or bonded labour
- §7 No harsh or inhumane treatment, no sexual harassment
- §8 Limiting hours of work and application of weekly rest
- §9 Identifying environmental risks and minimizing their impact
- §10 Accepting STEP audit: transparency and access to information
Only dealers who commit to these fair trade standards throughout their entire line of handmade carpets are distinguished with the STEP label.
Independent inspectors verify both the compliance to fair trade standards and the initiation of improvements. This is overseen by local staff STEP offices operated in all major carpet producing countries.
Besides verifying compliance with STEP standards through rigorous auditing, STEP actively supports producer improvements while empowering weavers and workers through educational programs that cover such topics as health and safety and financial literacy. Through these combined efforts, STEP reinforces industry sustainability and helps preserve centuries-old artisanal skills.
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