OTOP (one tambon, one product) is an initiative from the thai government to support small and medium sized businesses in their attempt to compete with larger companies. The products are manufactured in village communities (muu baan) and the OTOP organisation ensures that these products are manufatcured under fair conditions. They try to promote these products on markets and give the communties the opportunity to advertise their quality products through different distribution channels as fairs.
This gives the people working in OTOP comminities the ability to work self-determined and not pressured by price dumping through big companies and wholesalers.
As it is relatively expensive to get a seal or approval from an official fair trade organisation and as they are country specific with lot's of hurdles for the application, it is more or less impossilble to apply for something like that in thailand. As we want to offer something equivalent to fair trade in our product portfolio we finally found some OTOP communities that are excited to work with us.
We can not follow the whole process off every product in our portfolio but we try that wherever it is possible.
We know some of the manufacturers personal and believe that we can give valuable support to these collectives in promoting and selling there products and make a valuable contribution to the strengthening of the local producers and employees.
Some of the OTOP companies are educating and ensure that local employees get a perspective for their future. We were pleasantly surprised by the conditions that we saw by visiting some of our manufactures. We were able to ascertain that the products were made with care and produced far over the standard quality by choosing better garment and better quality control.
For organisational reasons and partly for lack of alternatives we will continue to buy from wholesalers in bangkoks markets but we will try to extend our portfolio to rely more on local communities and producers.
To ensure maximum transparency, the products coming from OTOP enterprises will have a small logo on the prodcut picture. That does not necessarily mean that the other products were manufactured under worse conditions. It is just not possible for us to check.