Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Social Responsibility

At From The Earth we redefine the traditional role of “for-profit” companies.  As an advocate for fair wages and meaningful skills development for our employees, we look for that from our suppliers as well.  We are committed to investing in our community by supporting local suppliers, artisans and vendors.  For us at FTE, our financial “bottom line” does not dictate our values; rather, our values dictate our “bottom line.”

Employees are more to us than just workers assembling or packaging merchandise.  We provide fair wages for our employees which allows them to support themselves and their families, and we work to empower each of them to improve their lives.  For example, this summer we provided free English language classes for interested employees.  Each time one of our quality handmade products is purchased, it helps our efforts to make a positive difference within the local community.

At FTE, we market many products from companies who hire disadvantaged or disabled workers who would otherwise have little opportunity to earn a decent living.  All of our handcrafted olive wood products come from such a company.  Other economic or socially disadvantaged individuals produce many of the additional products we market, such as our handmade greeting cards and olive wood jewelry.  Additionally, we use only like-minded local businesses to supply raw materials for our jewelry and cards.  Further, we purchase and showcase products from local artisans who work from their homes who would otherwise have no place to market their wares.

Why do we have these values?  We define “success” to include our employees’ meaningful livelihood and our producers’ sustainability, as well as our company's successful profit margin.  Our employees all benefit from better pay, participation in the development of product lines, and from low worker turnover resulting from a safe and happy work environment.

Our goal is to reverse traditional business norms which serve to exploit workers for personal gain.  We want to be part of a revolution in which both producers, and consumers, pay attention to those who make a product as much as they do to the product itself.  As of August 2010 we have made application to the World Fair Trade Organization for membership.  Achieving this certification is symbolic of our commitment to the business principles described above.  The fair trade label means that our customers can rest-assured in our commitment to honest and fair treatment of our employees, as well as our suppliers.
 
We hope to inspire and encourage others to follow fair trade principles in business.  Thank you for supporting From The Earth by purchasing our unique and quality products.  We invite you to partner with us as we serve to invest in the local community of Amman, Jordan.

Written by: Alan Meincke

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