What is Fair Trade Software?

Fair Trade Software is not outsourcing, offshoring or charity: it is about sustainable business practices which lead to employment, knowledge transfer and economic growth.

This is Fair Trade Software

The Internet and Open Source development make it possible to develop collaborative software, regardless of geographical location. Furthermore, modern, agile project management techniques such as Scrum allow distributed teams to work closely with the customer and produce quality products. By actively involving programmers in developing countries in these teams employment is created, knowledge and skills are acquired, and the sector grows. This is Fair Trade Software.

Both the Provider (IT companies in OECD countries) and the Partner (IT companies in developing countries) must be significantly involved in the project which is why Fair Trade Software is international collaboration, not offshore outsourcing. Whereas outsourced projects are placed entirely in the hands of the overseas supplier, Fair Trade Software relies on customers and Providers from developed countries working closely with Partners in developing countries. Knowledge transfer and growing economic capability are an inherent part of the Fair Trade Software concept.


Principles of Fair Trade Software

Fair Trade is a social movement that aims to help developing countries by selling and promoting their products and services. In order for a service to be Fair Trade it needs to meet the 10 Fair Trade Principles established by the World Fair Trade Organization. In the context of Fair Trade Software these principles are upheld in the following ways:

Employment Creation

FTSF Partners work alongside Providers to deliver software solutions for international clients. This:

Creates career opportunities for graduates in disadvantaged communities

Provides access to new markets

Stimulates development of a knowledge economy

Increases the Partner’s ability to compete in local markets

Transparency and Accountability

FTSF projects are carried out according to open book accounting principles

By using a completely electronic process we ensure traceability from project proposal through to payment

Fair Trading Practices

Direct and close working relationships between the Provider and the Partner remove the imbalance of power often created by powerful middlemen

Shortest possible supply chain maximizes opportunity for profit

Training and knowledge transfer built into process

Payment of a Fair Price

FTSF members sign up to openly published Schedules of Rates

FTSF rates are set in the upper-quartile of the normal rates for the market

No middle-man

Ensuring no Child Labour and Forced Labour

The IT industry requires skilled, educated workers. By stimulating growth in a sector which does not rely on forced labour and vulnerable groups we hope to act as a catalyst for change in the countries where our partners operate.

FTSF members implement a flexi-time system and working policy based on employee location and personal time management, we do not impose unreasonable working hours on Partners or their staff.

Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Women’s Economic Empowerment and Freedom of Association

FTSF members commit to treating all employees and stakeholders with respect, regardless of race, gender, religious or political beliefs, disability or age.

The FTSF and their members are:

Open to all

Open minded

Open to any developing country

Ensuring Good Working Conditions

FTSF Partners offer clean office environments in safe buildings

Small scale operations eliminate the problems associated with sweatshops and cramming which are common in other industries

The software development process does not involve the use of dangerous equipment or substances

Providing Capacity Building

FTSF projects focus on developing the knowledge, skills and performance of Partners by providing:

Access to international markets

Mentoring by senior professionals

Training and experience in the latest technologies

Training and experience in the latest project management techniques

The chance to build a demonstrable track record working on large scale projects

Promoting Fair Trade

Through use of the FTSF logo and symbol on software and corporate communication materials the FTSF and its members promote Fair Trade to customers and their stakeholders

Through partnerships with Universities, the FTSF promotes the concept of Fair Trade among the future generation of business professionals

By applying Fair Trade principles to the IT industry, the FTSF demonstrates that every sector has the potential to contribute to this movement

The FTSF extends Fair Trade into new markets

Respect for the Environment

Fair Trade Software is produced by virtual teams. Our products require no transportation, no raw materials and our teams are not required to travel for each project. Our projects therefore have no environmental impact.