Skip to content
Hey adults… it’s time to talk about child labour

Hey adults… it’s time to talk about child labour

The number of children in child labour has risen to 160 million worldwide. 12 June marks World Day Against Child Slavery, so it's time to talk about cotton production and uncomfortable reality of child labour.

Far from the way many lucky kiwi kids live here in Aotearoa – with a cozy bed, school, friends, nutritious lunchbox and tv - for one in ten children around the world, things aren’t so fair. 

For those unlucky kids in the developing world the day might include some schooling – or it might not. Their work may well be hazardous and by the time it comes to get home, they’re likely too tired to think much about playing or studying. 

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the term “child labour” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children.

More often, child labour interferes with schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school, obliging them to leave school prematurely, or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work. 

Fairtrade are trying to fix it. And that’s why we use Fairtrade certified cotton in some of our cotton bags.

Child labour is a tricky issue, but it starts with paying farmers a fair price. That’s addressing the key root cause of child labour: poverty.

Fairtrade requires that farmers receive at least a minimum price and non-negotiable premium, which is paid on top of the price. We also require longer-term contracts between producer organisations and buyers. This gives farmers more security to plan for their own futures, as well as those of their children and communities.

Fairtrade also acts to protect children reported to be involved in child labour within audited supply chains and works directly with farming communities to develop processes to monitor and remediate child labour cases in a way that doesn’t shift the practice to other supply chains.

So that’s the crux of it – paying farmers fairly and then checking for child labour and doing something about it. We can’t do that alone, which is why we’ve partnered with Fairtrade. That way we have a fully traceable and transparent supply chain with a rigorous, third-party auditing system.  Being Fairtrade certified means high standards for the environment, for women, and for kids have been adhered to. 

Everyone has a role in ending child labour, from farmers to brands like us, to you!

By choosing Fairtrade we are doing what is needed to address it. And you are too, if you’re looking for the Fairtrade mark (not just on our cotton bags, but on bananas, coffee, chocolate and cocoa in the supermarket and cotton clothing too).  

Thank you for choosing FAIR for kids around the world.  

Find out more about the World Day Against Child Labour here:

Shop our Fairtrade cotton bags here:

Previous article Be part of the solution. Start by taking the Plastic Free July challenge.
Next article Backing our native trees for the fourth year running