A term often bandied about when referring to sustainable or ethical products is Fair Trade. But how many of us really know what Fair Trade is all about. We know it’s a great initiative that involves people getting a fairer deal and treatment throughout the production line, we like to go beyond the surface of ethical initiatives, so let’s take a look at what it is and why Fair Trade really does matter.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade defines their brand and mission as follows:
“Fairtrade is about stable prices, decent working conditions and the empowerment of farmers and workers around the world.”
It aims to support the development of farming and worker communities around the world. This allows them to ultimately have more control over their futures, which results in helping to protect the environment in which they work and live.
It might sound a bit complicated but it basically boils down to ensuring that people across the world are paid the true value of their product and not ripped off by middlemen and businesses looking to drive profits up and costs down.
What Does Fair Trade Advocate?
There are a number of key things that Fair Trade advocates. These include:
Fair wages for workers
Economic empowerment of women
No child labour
No forced labour
Safe working conditions
Sustainable farming practices
Who Does Fair Trade Support?
Fair Trade supports local farmers and workers by ensuring they receive a fair wage for their goods or services. They also support local communities by giving farmers, workers and artisans more control over their business and future. This helps them build their own profitable businesses which in turn help their profits stay in their local economy.
Fair Trade also supports local artisans, not just farmers – think of communities that use recycled products to create new and interesting artworks such as sculptures, jewellery and bowls.
Fair Trade has something called the Fair Trade Minimum Price. It sets the price that the buyer of a Fair Trade product must pay to the producer. It ensures that all producers will receive a fair price for the goods they are producing and won’t be driven down by unscrupulous buyers in the supply chain.
How Can You Encourage More Fair Trade products?
Easy! Buy more products with the Fair Trade logo on them! By consciously supporting Fair Trade products, you’re sending a message to companies that engage in Fair Trade that you are supporting their initiative. Equally, you’ll be sending just as powerful a message to companies that don’t currently use Fair Trade producers – that you’d rather spend your dollars with companies that do.
How often do you check the labels of your goods for the Fair Trade logo? What are some of your favourite Fair Trade products? Let us know in the comments – we love finding new, ethical things to support!