At tonlé, we practice fair trade principals in all aspects of our business. Here's how we adhere to each of the guidelines of the World Fair Trade Organization:
Commitment to Fair Trade
Tonlé is committed to trade with concern for the social, economic and environmental well-being of marginalized producers in developing countries. This means equitable commercial terms, fair wages and fair prices. Unfair trade structures, mechanisms, practices and attitudes will be identified and avoided.
At tonlé, we are committed to Fair trade. We ascertain that all persons who have worked on a product that is made, sold, or distributed by tonlé are paid a fair wage. In our workshop in Phnom Penh where the majority of our finished goods are made, all of our team members are paid a base salary plus a bonus per piece rate, and work no more than 45 hours per week. In doing so, they are able to earn 1.5-2.5X that of a typical garment factory worker in Cambodia, within a normal working day, whereas in a typical factory it is normal to work 3-4 hours of overtime per day in order to earn a living wage.
Tonlé also partners with other groups that adhere to fair trade practices. Tonlé’s weaving partners at Weaves of Cambodia in Preah Vihear province of Cambodia run as a cooperative and all members earn fair wages and work in a community centric work environment that caters to their needs, culture, and talents.
Tonlé aims to be transparent in our work with our production partners, employees, customers, and investors. Tonlé will openly share financial information, management policies, business practices, product sources, production, marketing and development program plans on a regular basis. This openness is tempered with respect to sensitive commercial or political information. We aim to be a leader in the sustainable fashion movement and set a high bar for best practices within industry.
Tonlé’s organizational structure reflects a commitment to justice, fair employment, public accountability and progressive work practices, while involving workers in decision-making and management as often as possible. Tonlé promotes a work environment for our producers that is open and communicative. With our team, we regularly host meetings in which we discuss major financial decisions and growth opportunities. We also aim to promote producers to management positions as often as possible. Our entire production team in Cambodia is Cambodian and female led, which is unusual in typical garment factories within the country.
We ensure a safe working environment that satisfies at a minimum all local statutory regulations. We provide a work environment that feels more like a sewing circle than an assembly line. We follow a lean manufacturing model, and workers are encouraged to learn new skills and join different teams. During training, both the trainee and the trainer are paid, and production team members can request training whenever they would like to learn a new skill. So, all of our production team have an opportunity to learn new skills and understand how a whole garment is put together, which makes their skills more transferable should they want to start their own business or have a higher-level position at tonlé or elsewhere. In addition to this we provide some health care benefits, free lunches every day, generous vacation packages, and team retreats.
Equal Employment Opportunities
Tonlé opposes discrimination and ensures equality of employment opportunities for both men and women who suffer from the exploitation of their labor and the effects of poverty and racial, cultural or gender bias.
Concern for People
Tonlé promotes development which improves the quality of life and which is sustainable for and responsible to both people and the natural world. There will be no exploitation of child labor. Trading activities do not violate indigenous peoples’ claims on land or any resources of vital importance to their way of life.
Concern for the Environment
Tonlé trades goods which are environmentally friendly. Learn more about our zero-waste mission here.
Respect for Producers’ Cultural Identity
Tonlé encourages production and development of products based on producers’ cultural traditions and natural resources, and promotes producers’ artistic, technological and organizational knowledge as a way of helping preserve and develop their cultural identity.
Education and Advocacy
Tonlé promotes fair trade by encouraging people to change consumption patterns based on issues of social justice and concern for the environment. We strive to increase public and corporate consciousness of alternative trade as an effective means to change unfair international trade structures and attitudes.