Fair Trade is a partnership between producers and consumers which ensures producers in the developing world have good working conditions and fair prices. They are sometimes forced to work with dangerous chemicals without masks or special clothing to protect them. Fair Trade is all about better prices, yes, but it’s also about decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Fair Trade has existed since WWII, but was more focused on handicrafts in the beginning, with products sold solely from Fair Trade shops (also called worldshops) and churches.
Start with just one product that you buy that has a Fair Trade alternative, and make the switch. Great article but it would be wonderful to see BAFTS have a mention as we are a member organisation of fair trade shops and suppliers in the UK.
Fair Trade is a global movement responding to the failures of conventional trade that traditionally discriminates against disadvantaged communities. They also give accreditation to schools, universities, towns, faith groups and zones; hence Fairtrade School, Fairtrade town and so on. These include increasing access to markets, a commitment to long-term trading partnerships, transparency, dialogue and so on. When you buy Fair Trade products a larger share of the money you spend goes to the people who need it most – the farmers in the poor countries who grow food for us or the workers who help produce it. Whilst you probably know (or could guess!) it means that workers getting paid a fair price for the goods that they produce, there’s actually a bit more to it than that.

The 10 principles listed by the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO), which Fair Trade organisations are expected to follow, are excellent for explaining what Fair Trade companies across the globe strive to achieve.
From the 1980s there was a shift towards the fair trade of agricultural products, and the idea of certification came about. This meant products could be sold in mainstream shops such as supermarkets rather than specific Fair Trade shops. An independent organisation certifies that the commodities used in a product meet Fair Trade standards, and manufacturers pay for the right to use a logo. It’s an independent certification mark that guarantees a product has been produced according to international Fair Trade standards. It is estimated 90% of consumers trust the FAIRTRADE Mark – and this confidence means higher sales. Different certifiers will have different standards and procedures, but all promote Fair Trade.
Fair Trade is fair once you have the money to get accreditation, but until then, it is not as fair as one would like, for those small businesses who want to make their way into the international market.
We ourselves are WFTO members, and our members must show transparency and future aims in accordance with the WFTO 10 principles. The idea with Fair Trade is that farmers or workers are paid a higher price for their goods or services, and this cost is passed onto the consumer, who will pay more for a product that has been fairly traded. Certification has allowed the reach of Fair Trade to grow massively, and more customers means more farmers can benefit.

The market for Fair Trade products continues to grow every year, and the more we support it, the more this growth will continue.
You start by mentioning that fair trade focussed first on handicrafts and say later that not all products are certified (costs etc) but don’t explain that we exist to help set criteria for shops and suppliers dealing in handicrafts primarily.
Most businesses selling Fair Trade products want to be as transparent as possible, so if in doubt, just ask questions. Often small-scale craft products will be Fair Trade (coming through a supply chain that follows the principles) without being accredited as Fairtrade. FTRN is the only non-profit organization on the planet focused exclusively on Fair Trade education, helping people to better understand the impact of their buying decisions. I would like to share important additional information about the Fair Trade movement and marketplace, regarding other fair trade labeling initiatives. Fair Trade USA is just one reputable fair trade labeling initiative in the marketplace that focuses on certifying single ingredients and products, instead of companies and brands dedicated to fair trade throughout their entire product line. Agreed that customers are looking for a deal these days, and this can go against principles of Fair Trade. Companies are able to market their products and overcome the price hesitation that many can feel when converting over to fair trade and green products… Comments are closed.

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