Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fair Trade Sports - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

Fair Trade Sports (Bainbridge Island WA) is a sports ball and equipment distributor and manufacturer that ensures all items are made by adults who are paid fair wages (50% higher in this case) and who are provided healthy working environments. They offer "guilt-free soccer balls, futsal balls, rugby balls, volleyballs, and more" which are hand-stitched in Pakistan. Additionally, since the sports ball business can be seasonal, "micro-credit loans are offered to improve the village economy and to provide alternative or additional income opportunities to the workers."

The inner air bladders of the balls are made with FSC-certified latex from rubber plantations and then sent to Pakistan for assembly into sports balls. In the first ever Fair Trade deal with a plantation, Fair Trade Sports sources their rubber from the Frocester Plantation in Sri Lanka and from the New Ambadi Rubber Estate. Following the Fair Trade deal, the Frocester Plantation then created the Fair Trade Welfare Society for the plantation's rubber tappers and employees. Early funds generated from the Society led to the installation of a pump and piping system for nearby plantation households to access well water and to the restoration of a restroom facility on the plantation.

All after-tax profits of Fair Trade Sports are donated to children's charities to help at-risk children around the world . Items can be purchased online, either retail or wholesale. At their website, you can read the stories of their adult stitchers. Fair Trade Sports was created by Scott and Susan James.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week is a weekly behind-the-scenes look at what businesses are doing to be more sustainable and responsible in their operations.

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