Fair Trade

Monitoring that Makes Sense

Label STEP’s industry-leading 10-point Standard provides the broadest and strictest labour, health, safety, social and environmental rules in the carpet industry.

Not all countries or facilities are alike, so the fair trade rules embedded in the STEP Standard are customized to individual production circumstances – from home-based work to loom workshops and factories. As part of its oversight, STEP monitors up to 90 compliance measures, which must be either already realized or in the active process of fulfilment.

If a non-compliance situation is found, cooperative corrective action is initiated by STEP field personnel, and conditions are improved step-by-step to effect real change.

The 10 ten rules for fair trade embedded within the STEP Standard include:

  • §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

Beyond: a Holistic, Solutions-based Approach

STEP not only addresses isolated issues such as child labour, it also works holistically to adjust the underlying realities of the industry that incite them because simply removing children from looms does not eliminate child labour. The non-profit organisation seeks fair wages for adult weavers and education for their children, so everyone can have a brighter future. STEP pursues fair trade solutions that consider all social, ecological and commercial concerns. And it believes in collaboration – encouraging and requiring all players within the handmade carpet industry to cooperatively nurture an industry that is healthy, responsible and sustainable.

Only dealers (importers, wholesalers, designers and retailers) who commit to the STEP Standard for fair trade throughout their entire line of handmade carpets are considered a Certified Label STEP Fair Trade Partner and are allowed to use the distinguished STEP label. Compliance and the initiation of improvements is verified by local STEP staff through frequent, independent and unannounced audits. Depending on the production environment, up to 90 carpet-industry-specific criteria must be met or in progress.

The 10 STEP Standards: