What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is an economic partnership based on dialogue, transparency, and respect. For Fair Trade Federation members, this system of exchange seeks to create greater equity and partnership in the international trading system by:
- Creating Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers
- Developing Transparent and Accountable Relationships
- Building Capacity
- Promoting Fair Trade
- Paying Promptly and Fairly
- Supporting Safe and Empowering Working Conditions
- Ensuring the Rights of Children
- Cultivating Environmental Stewardship
- Respecting Cultural Identity
Fair Trade Federation members’ foster partnerships with producers, because they know these connections are a highly effective way to help producers help themselves. Fair trade is not about charity. It is a holistic approach to trade and development that aims to alter the ways in which commerce is conducted, so that trade can empower the poorest of the poor. Fair Trade Organizations seek to create sustainable and positive change in developing and developed countries.
What Does This Mean?
To better understand how these principles live in practice, visit FairTradeFederation.org and consult the Fair Trade Federation Principles and Code of Practice to understand how retailers, wholesalers of handmade goods, wholesalers of agricultural-based goods, and cafes live these nine Principles. Since 2000, fair trade sales and consumer awareness have increased tremendously, as the range of fair trade products has also expanded. From the early days of lace and home decor, handmade items now include clothing, sports equipment, toys, and other items. From its initial focus on coffee, fair trade product certification has expanded to tea, chocolate, sugar, vanilla, fruit, wine, and much more. In 2002, the first World Fair Trade Day was celebrated to heighten consumer awareness and to strengthen connections among fair traders and interested citizens around the globe. In 2006, IFAT (International Federation of Alternative Trade) reported that total fair trade sales topped $2.6 billion.
From its early days, fair trade continues to move forward across the globe, because of the efforts of consumers, entrepreneurs, non-governmental organizations, and other communities.
Source: Fair Trade Federation. www.fairtradefederation.org
The fair trade system strengthens the skills of the producers to grow and become self-sufficient in the international trading arena. By connecting consumers more directly to producers in developing countries and reducing middlemen, the local artisans make livable wages, and the consumers enjoy products that are backed by a unique story and history. It is a mutually beneficial relationship that leads to a more just international trading system, as well as a greater cultural understanding across boundaries. Fair Trade has seen tremendous growth in the past decade indicating that consumers have become more conscious of how and where they spend their money.
It is our goal to offer the opportunity for consumers to connect with various artisans throughout the world by way of their fine craftsmanship and unique stories.
Reasons you should buy fair trade today!
- You are helping a movement that eradicates sweatshops
- You are helping to eliminate forced child labor
- You are empowering communities and saving lives
- You are supporting and protecting the environment
- You are helping to improve schools, working conditions, and healthcare
- You are empowering women and girls
- You are making a difference in fighting to end poverty and inequality
- You can help spread the word by giving fair trade gifts – make sure you indicate the good the product is doing to help a community
- You are promoting the support of fair wages
- You are increasing cross-cultural understanding
- You are encouraging the persistence of valuable age-old traditions
Making changes in your purchasing may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s easier than you may think. It just takes a little education and dedication before you are well on your way to making positive efforts in other’s lives.