Is Motif a Fair Trade business?

Thankfully since we began in 1998 our fair trade customers running a wide variety of eco-friendly, green and socially aware businesses give us a resounding, YES!

But is that enough? Well, in a perfect world it would be and for over 20 years it has been enough but, to quote our buddy Bob Dylan, “… the times they are a-changin’ ”

Over the last 2 decades our access to information has grown exponentially via the Internet. This has its pros and cons. The key question, “Is this true?” is one we all navigate on a daily basis. The subheadings under Fake News seem endless, including one called Greenwash – a unique genre giving dynamic presentations of sustainable, environmental steps a company is supposedly taking so that we believe we’re making good, eco-conscious choices when buying their clothes, groceries and more.

A good example is the famed Volkswagon recall a few years ago when intentionally some vehicles gave more eco-friendly emissions test results than was the case.

As a result tried and tested third party accreditation is more of an issue now than ever before. With it there’s a guarantee that all an ethical business claims is done, is actually what it’s doing. And this is why Motif is finally taking the plunge!

I’ve been involved in Fair Trade since moving to Bangladesh in 1989, back when the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO), then the International Federation of Alternative Trade (IFAT), was founded. Working closely with other fair traders in Bangladesh was exciting and the growing number of buyers prepared to support this Alternative Trade phenomenon was impressive.

Fast forward to 1998 when I set up Motif. There was no question, of course we’d run on Fair Trade principles and continue to grow in them.

So why didn’t Motif get WFTO accreditation sooner?

That’s a great question to which honestly, I don’t have a great answer!! Certainly the process was much more expensive in the past. Thankfully now, a growing membership means costs are covered by more people and so the 1-3 year process is much more affordable than before. There were other excuses but essentially I just didn’t make the time to take on the 20 page application and other reporting necessary to apply and be tested.

So, I’m starting this blog series on our WFTO accreditation process so that others have a first hand account of what’s involved. The WFTO website is wonderfully clear and helpful, but an up close and personal account also has merit!


Any start-up today wishing to establish its ethical credentials I think must get a third party accreditation valid in its industry. I know for Motif this will encourage pride and confidence in all we offer, our current customers will appreciate the added value they can share and certain new buyers will take us more seriously.

As I write, 20 pages of answers plus additional reports are almost ready to submit. Another post on that initial process will follow. But for now … fasten your seat belt and join me behind the scenes on Motif’s journey to WFTO Guaranteed Member Status!

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