STEP & Fair Carpet Dealers
STEP represents good working and living conditions, fair wages, eco-friendly production, and the prohibition of child labour. The label distinguishes dealers who commit to fair trade standards throughout their entire line of handmade carpets.
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.
STEP was founded in Switzerland in 1995. As a charitable organization STEP has no commercial goals, rather it campaigns for the wellbeing of weavers and workers and the continued development of a sustainable carpet industry.
Carpets & Economic Development
Carpets have been woven for thousands of years. They have been and remain an important cultural good and source of livelihood for millions of people. In economically disadvantaged, often rural areas, carpet weaving is one of a few ways to earn a living, especially for women. Many artisans and workers come from the poorest social classes with limited access to education.
Carpet production is an informal industry. Weaving is home-based or takes place in small workshops and manufactories. Written employment contracts, social security, and labour legislation rarely exist. Supply chains are complex with many intricacies and are characterized by small-scale businesses and numerous middlemen.
STEP’s fair trade standards protect weavers and workers in this difficult environment. They provide for fair conditions and turn the carpet industry into an effective instrument of economic development.
STEP & A Sustainable Carpet Industry
STEP’s primary focus is auditing carpet production sites and continuously improving both working and living conditions in the supply chains of STEP-certified dealers.
STEP also promotes the sustainability of the entire carpet industry in various regions and countries. For these projects STEP seeks cooperation with governmental institutions and civil society organisations.
The topics promoted include: Weavers receive training and support to improve their situation on their own. Producers’ associations are encouraged to introduce standards for better working conditions. Environment protection projects are supported. At the governmental and authority level, STEP lobbies for a better legal framework and access to aid programmes and social security.