Fair trade & Maison Bengal
Maison Bengal was set-up in 2004 as a way of providing marginalised producers in Bangladesh, and particularly women, with a means for practical empowerment.
We identified and selected five local fair trade organisations that we no longer refer to as suppliers but as development partners. Over the years we have developed a very close working relationship with each partner, based on trust, respect, transparency and mutual accountability.
Maison Bengal believes that a fair wage is only just the first step in fair trade. A long-term trading relationship is equally important to the producers, as is an understanding of the challenges they face in their daily life. In a country like Bangladesh, one needs to consider the implications of the monsoon, seasonal flooding and rice harvests.
Some of the communities that Maison Bengal works with live in remote areas and are particularly marginalised. With no electricity, no running water, no road infrastructure and very limited healthcare they have little opportunity to get out of poverty.
We aim to help these communities by developing high-quality, desirable products with them, made of readily available natural materials which they can make at home in their villages. We work closely with our development partners as well as our buyers to ensure a greater understanding between both ends of the supply chain: the producer and the customer. In this way fair trade can act as a bridge, helping to foster a mutual understanding between both worlds.