Football sports ball for a fairtrade GOAL!
Pakistan is world-recognized as the sports balls kingdom: 40 millions of sports balls are sewed and export abroad every year. Pakistanis from Sialkot region, located in the north of the country, produce about 75% of the entire volume of sports balls sell in the world. Among the 70 000 workers from Sialkot district, we were still counting, ten years ago, between 5 000 and 10 000 kids working in manufacture dedicated to sports balls confection. However, exceptional are the kids playing football (soccer) or knowing the rules of the game.
At the end of the 90’, large media campaigns cast light on this industry who maintains his activities deliberately vague about certain details; work of childhood, precarious contracts, incomes under poverty line, etc. Flu criticism appear undeserved and the largest multinational companies are finger pointing. Pressures expressed by the international community wan: public opinion motivated compartmental modifications.
Since 1990, the Pakistani producer, Talon Sports, positioned itself as a leader in the manufacture of sports articles. Talons Sports is one of the best company producing Fair Trade Certified sports balls. In 2007, FLO-cert gives Fair Trade certification to Talons Sports. One of the main objectives for the cooperative is to ensure good working conditions in the factory for the workers. Among the initiatives take out by the cooperative, the Pakistanis’ company provide a decent salary in order to support members to cover diverse fees. For example, Talon Sports members can now take out loans to pays school fees for their children.
In the interest of transparency and respect, Talon Sports organize a group, Talon Welfare Society, where workers are elected, represent their colleagues and collaborate in the elaboration of social projects. The Fair Trade certification obtains by Talon Sports means that the cooperative meets the norms developed by Fair Trade Labeling Organizations (FLO); the company receives sporadic control visits. Thanks to Fair Trade, workers saw their working conditions improve.
Impacts of Fair Trade
The Pakistanis working for Talon Sports receive a social premium regarding Fair Trade certified sports balls sold; this money is invested in projects supporting the development of strong and sustainable social-economy. 20% of the selling price received by the employer is redistributed among the workers. Talon Sports members’ salary is nearly 50% higher when they are producing Fair Trade sports balls. The minimum price and the social premium require by Fair Trade Certification bodies have, among other things, been used to cover major medical insurance, a first for workers in this industry.
Welfare Society also established micro credit funds. Those funds, available for financing, are offered to members and their families. Some of them got access to low-rate loans. This financial aid allows them to open small companies. Pakistani workers from Talon Sports saw their incomes increase.
Even a small percentage of Talon Sports production are Fair Trade Certified, it is therefore clear that Fair Trade has a positive impact in worker’s life. Extra incomes get from the production of Fair Trade certified sport balls contribute definitively to economic development. Thanks to Fair Trade, money is invested in communities and towns’ economy and the skills of its members as well as in a range of community initiatives in Sialkot region.