Fair Tread

After an exhaustive audit process, Canadian company Oliberté is the world’s first Fair Trade USA certified shoemaker.

With warehouses in the U.S., Canada and England, Oliberté makes sustainably produced leather boots, shoes, and bags out of a factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Photo courtesy Oliberté.
Photo courtesy Oliberté.

“Becoming the world’s first Fair Trade Certified footwear manufacturing factory was a rigorous process, but we did it because we believe this partnership will make us better as a company and employer,” company founder Tal Dehtiar told Ecowatch.com. “Our goal is to be a voice for ethical manufacturing so that factory workers around the world can provide a better life for themselves and their families.”

Oliberté’s Ethiopian factory had to step up and meet hundreds of Fair Trade USA standards and requirements, and pass an audit for environmental stewardship, working conditions, safety, wages, maternity leave, medical visits and employee safety handbooks. Fair Trade USA also looked into the company’s adherence to anti-child-labor regulations, among other stipulations.

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Fair Trade USA also required Oliberté to contribute a premium to a worker-controlled fund. Employees are able to split the money or vote to use it to support community amelioration projects.

Oliberté opened the factory in 2012 and expects to produce 25,000 pairs of shoes in the coming year.

Photo courtesy Oliberté.
Photo courtesy Oliberté.

Tal Dehtiar – recently named one of FAST Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business – founded Oliberté in Oakville, Ontario in 2009 to create jobs for skilled workers in Africa fashioning footwear using natural rubber outsoles and hand-picked leather. Each pair of shoes uses an average of 1,000 stitches and materials from Liberia, Mauritius, Kenya, Tanzania, and Congo.

Oliberté is a 1% for the Planet member.