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The STEP vision

Label STEP envisions a sustainable fair trade handmade carpet industry that positively affects the lives of weavers, workers and their families, and minimizes environmental impact.

Going beyond child labour

Label STEP is committed to fair trade in handmade carpets. In collaboration with our Licensed Partners (importers, wholesalers, designers and retailers) and their producers, our Swiss non-profit organization works to:

  • improve working and living conditions for weavers and workers
  • eliminate child labour
  • empower weavers and workers
  • foster environmentally sound production
  • promote a sustainable industry and enhance market prospects

Simply removing children from looms does not eliminate child labour. At STEP, we not only address such isolated issues as child labour, we work holistically to alter the underlying industry realities that encourage it. We work for fair wages for adult weavers and education for their children, so everyone can have a brighter future. We seek fair trade solutions that take all social, ecological and commercial issues into consideration. And we believe in collaboration by encouraging and requiring all players within the handmade carpet industry to work cooperatively to ensure a healthy, responsible and sustainable industry.

Monitoring that makes sense

Label STEP’s 20 years of experience monitoring and improving working conditions in all important handmade carpet-producing countries has been integrated into the STEP Standard. This industry-leading 10-point Standard provides the broadest and strictest labour, health, safety, social and environmental rules in the carpet industry.

Within the STEP Standard, which is adapted to individual production circumstances — from home-based work to loom workshops and factories — we monitor up to 90 compliance measures that must be met or actively worked towards.

If a non-compliance situation is found, cooperative corrective action is initiated by STEP  field personnel and conditions are improved ... step-by-step ... to effect real change.

Fair trade labelling & promotion

Licensed STEP Partners can proudly display their commitment to fair trade by including our logo on their carpet labels. As an organization, however, we go beyond carpet labeling to acknowledge entire companies for their comprehensive commitment to fair trade. Partners are promoted on our website, have use of our official logo and marketing tools, and, most importantly, receive regular updates on production conditions and advancements.

Far-reaching benefits

Wholesalers and importers can ensure reliable access to high quality carpets, maintain premium pricing and minimize business risk — all while helping to improve lives and build a sustainable industry for future generations.

Retailers and designers can increase sales and elevate their image by appealing to «conscious consumers» — the fast-growing market segment concerned about the provenance of their purchases.

Consumers can easily find, choose and proudly use their fair trade carpet as a result of promotional efforts by STEP and our Licensed Partners.

How is the system financed?

As a non-profit organization, STEP is not commercially motivated. Our core fair trade activities, including the verification of working conditions and outreach programs, are  financed through license fees paid by Licensed STEP Partners based on the value of their carpet traded. Charitable donations also help fund special projects.