Why for us Fairtrade isn’t always enough!

Ehsan Ullah was suffering from severe chest pain. In July the Welfare Society made it possible for Ehsan to undergo a heart operation costing 4,000 US dollars. Ehsan, a father of two sons, would not have been able to afford the operation on his own. Today Ehsan is doing much better and is once again free of pain.


In 2018, we have given a total of US-$ 37,599 to our Workers Welfare Society in Sialkot, Pakistan.

Expenses for medical treatments from minor to major have been by far the highest. More than 1,500 people benefited from TFTWWS’s medical program in 2018 and sometimes enabled very costly treatments which the beneficiaries would not have been able to afford on their own.

Even a list of projects planned for 2019 is included in the report. For example, the purchase of a van is arranged to rebuild it into a mobile laboratory and conduct blood test directly in the homes of ill persons. A glimpse will be worth it: to the annual report 2018!

A look behind our seal – and at the people

Yeah, we know, we already have a lot of seals dangling from our shoes! Most of you are probably already familiar with the FAIRTRADE COTTONFSC and PETA APPROVED VEGAN seals. If not, we’ve created links to their declarations. If you can read German, we also recommend the largely independent website the German government has created to help consumers find their way through the seal jungle right here: Siegelklarheit.

Now, where were we? Oh yeah, what’s the story with the seal for the “TALON FAIRTRADE WORKERS WELFARE SOCIETY”?

Ethletic’s brand core is and will always be fairness: fair trade, fait pay and fair working conditions.

That’s why we also have the Fairtrade Cotton seal. But this seal is primarily related to improved conditions for our farmers and plantation workers. Back in 1998, the TALON FAIRTRADE WORKERS WELFARE SOCIETY was established to ensure that workers in the manufacturing facilities also get a fair piece of the pie.

Logo der Welfare Society
“Talon Fairtrade Workers Welfare Society” logo to the annual report 2018

Since 2006 Ethletic has put its money where its mouth is and voluntarily funded a special premium to the organization and its mission of looking after the production employees. The society has its own elected committee that determines how this money is to be used.

“It’s important for us that our employees in Pakistan decide themselves how they want to invest the funds”,

explains Etheltic boss Marc Solterbeck. He continues, “In other places these kinds of decisions are often made somewhere further up the ladder. We believe our Pakistani colleagues know best themselves where the money is needed”.

Up to now the Welfare Society received a premium of 15 percent of the net cost value of the products ordered by Ethletic. But this summer we changed the system.

Since May of 2018 one us dollar has gone to the welfare society for every pair of Etheltic shoes sold.

What moved us to change this system after more than 10 years? Well, for one, Ethletic has undergone strong growth in recent years, making it now virtually impossible to finance the special premium for an entire year in advance.

And secondly, we want to increase our Pakistani employees’ participation in our sales. So strictly speaking, our payment – even though comparably – isn’t a voluntary donation any longer, but a usage fee for Ethletic to use the TALON FAIRTRADE WORKERS WELFARE SOCIETY seal in the amount of one US dollar for each pair of shoes sold. From now on this payment will be made on a monthly basis.

Of course, the men and women of the Welfare Society will continue to be in complete charge of which projects they decide to use these funds for: education for their kids, pensions, health care, micro-loans, etc.

During this past summer Ethletic began receiving monthly reports from Pakistan.

“It’s wonderful that we can finally show what’s happening with the special premium and all the things that can be achieved in Pakistan with one dollar per pair of shoes”,

says Marc Solterbeck. The reports reveal for example which of the areas of need mentioned above are receiving these monthly funds. And the significance and results each month are illustrated in a short, personal story.

Redaktion: Sandra Laffrenzen