Meet Ehsan Ullah. Ehsan lives in rural Pakistan, he’s in his mid-forties, is married, and has two young boys. As is commonplace in Pakistan, Ehsan’s parents also live with his family, boosting his family size to six.
While it might sound a tad dramatic, Ehsan would not be alive today if it weren’t for the Fairtrade movement.
Ehsan works at one of the factories where Etiko’s products are manufactured, and because it is a Fairtrade factory, and Etiko pays a 15% Fairtrade Premium on top of their manufacturing costs (as all Fairtrade companies do), Ehsan and the other employees there have access to medical insurance.
This meant when Ehsan experienced chest pains, the worker's committee which oversees the use of our fairtrade premiums arranged for him to attend a doctors appointment, receive a diagnosis (heart disease), and then undergo life-saving open heart surgery. What's more, they footed the US$4,000 bill.
If Ehsan had worked in a non-fairtrade factory in Pakistan anywhere else, he, more than likely, would have been unable to afford the surgery and would have ultimately died, leaving his family of 5 dependents to fend for themselves.
While some people question the higher prices of Fairtrade products (not that Etiko gear that much more expensive!), we firmly believe they are worth every additional dollar, because Fairtrade products not only improve the lives of those working in more vulnerable countries, they can sometimes save them.
The Fairtrade Premium can also be used in other ways to benefit employees, in fact, the employees are the ones who decide how the premium should be used. For example, employees might decide they need a daycare centre and can use the premium to build one.
Or more recently, floods in Pakistan increased the price of food so employees decided to create a food co-op. By using the power of bulk purchasing they could buy food at a decreased rate, then on-sell it to employees with only a small mark up.
As a customer of Etiko, we want to share stories like Ehsan’s with you, so you can truly understand the difference your purchases make. Without people like you supporting the Fairtrade movement, Ehsan’s return to health would not have been possible.
Thank you for choosing to support our brand and helping to improve the lives of so many people like Ehsan.