Maté Factor's Fair Trading Practices
From the beginning, we at Maté Factor have had a primary focus and mission to source the world’s freshest, highest quality yerba maté while exercising our global abilities to stimulate the local economies of our partners in South America (we call them brothers and sisters). Maté Factor diligently pursues three key strategies in pursuit of its mission:
- We passionately source materials of exceptional quality.
- We continually research and implement techniques of producing and distributing an unparalleled quality of yerba maté.
- We devote our efforts to increase the awareness and availability of distribution channels to further the mission.
Fair trade, as it has come to be known, is a cornerstone of these strategies. The depth of our commitment to long-term sustainable relationships, even true, meaningful friendships, is the foundation of our operations, which takes us to a level of cooperation beyond the typical business structure.
To that end, Maté Factor naturally demonstrates compliance with generally accepted international Fair Trade principles. Below, we describe these principles, their understood meanings, and how we fulfill them.
To create opportunity for artisans and farmers in South America who live in poverty and lack access to long term, well paying jobs, we act in the interest of local producers.
Maté Factor was born of a friendship between Canadians & Americans and several families native to the yerba maté producing regions in southern Brazil. Their affections for one another, and a common love of yerba maté produced the idea for Maté Factor. The shared vision, then and now, is to work together to ensure high production standards in order to stimulate a sustainable economy for Brazilian maté producers.
In 1998, Maté Factor was able to prepay for our first two ocean shipping containers of yerba maté, thus providing working capital for our friends in Brazil. Since then, we have continued to invest in the development of our Brazilian operation, helping them get better, safer equipment, and greatly improving working conditions.
In 2003, Maté Factor discussed the production of teabags with our producers. The required equipment was a large investment. We agreed to prepay and made order commitments that provided capital to purchase the machinery to produce teabags in Brazil. Our Brazilian producers have since used this added capacity to develop a separate Brazilian organic tea company, now widely distributed in Brazil and recognized as a pioneer in the Brazilian organic maté industry.
Other accomplishments of note are the construction of a state of the art production facility in 2016, and the purchase of a 250 acre yerba maté plantation in 2020, both wholly owned by our friends in Brazil.
Developing Transparent & Accountable Relationships
In order to develop transparent and accountable relationships with artisans and farmers, fair trade buyers and producers are honest with each other and work together to solve problems.
The Maté Factor supply chain is completely transparent and, as noted above, built on strong interpersonal ties. Producers have state of the art facilities, unparalleled worker hospitality and, as a testimony to that, there has been virtually no worker turnover through the last decade.
Promoting Fair Trade
We promote fair trade by raising awareness about fair trade with customers and producers, and by inspiring other businesses to adopt similar practices.
Fair trade means much more than just principles. It originates from a sincere respect for people in every place, culture, and economic condition. Therefore, we are compelled to uphold practices that build business relationships that are full of care, respect, and trust. While such an effort has a positive impact on specific social and economic realities, it’s really a love story we talk about every chance we get.
Pay Promptly and Fairly
We pay promptly and fairly, and discuss prices openly and honestly so that producers understand their costs and earn a good wage.
Maté Factor has always paid a premium for yerba maté. Although Fair Trade standards do not apply to the pricing of yerba maté to date, we often honour prices that are greater than 15% above any comparable organic product. We have always maintained terms of 50% payment at the time of placing an order, and the remainder is paid when the order is delivered. We have also, upon occasion, prepaid and extended other monies, when needed, to support our South American operations.
Supporting Safe & Empowering Working Conditions
We support safe and empowering working conditions that are healthy and free of discrimination. As such, all employees have a voice in the decisions that affect them most. Not only is communication amongst the workers in South America open and transparent, but all decisions, from scheduling to financing are made cooperatively.
Respecting Cultural Identity
Our fair trade products and production methods reflect the history and traditions of artisans and farmers in South America.
Yerba maté itself has a rich cultural heritage. Maté Factor embraces this heritage on a personal, social, and commercial level. Our love and passion for this heritage has made the tradition of maté a central part of Maté Factor’s marketing and message since the beginning.
Cultivating Environmental Stewardship
We encouraging the responsible use of resources and eco-friendly methods of production. We reduce, reuse, reclaim, and recycle materials wherever possible. Waste is avoided in our operations and personal lives.
The growth and cultivation of yerba maté is a traditional craft, largely unchanged over many generations. Responsible cultivation techniques lead to successful farmers. It is interesting to note that yerba maté cultivation is actually a viable reforestation strategy.