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Yes, improved prices are essential, but decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair trade terms for farmers and workers in developing countries may be more important.
The Fair Trade Movement arose from the realization that traditional trade failed to provide fair wages and long-term livelihoods for the world's poorest people.
Because poverty and suffering limit their options, access to markets and negotiation strength, limit options and give rise to exploitation.
Whenever you see the Fair Trade Certified logo on a product, you can be confident that it satisfies stringent social, environmental, and economic standards. That is to say:
- Working circumstances that are safe
- Protection of the environment
- Sustainable livelihoods
- Funds for Community Development
Fair Trade is based on the principle of paying farmers or workers a higher price for their goods or services.
There is no single definition of Fair Trade; numerous organizations support it, each with its own set of norms and criteria.
The World Fair Trade Organization's (WFTO) ten principles, which Fair Trade organizations are obliged to follow, are suitable for expressing what Fair Trade enterprises around the world aspire towards.
The 10 Principles of Fair Trade
1. The primary concept is to provide opportunity for producers that are economically disadvantaged.
One of the organization's main goals is to reduce poverty through trade. Small, marginalized producers are supported by the organization, whether independent family companies or part of organizations or cooperatives.
2. Transparency and accountability is the second principle.
The organization's management and business relationships are open and transparent.
It is accountable to all of its stakeholders and treats commercial information with sensitivity and confidentiality.
3. Fair Trading Practices is the third principle.
Long-term relationships are maintained by the organization, which help promote and expand Fair Trade by fostering solidarity, trust, and mutual respect.
It communicates effectively with its trading partners.
4. Payment of a Fair Price is the fourth principle.
All parties have jointly agreed upon a fair price through communication and involvement, pays producers somewhat, and can be sustained by the market.
5. No child or forced labor is used
The organization abides by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and national and local child labor laws.
The organization ensures that none of its employees, members, or homeworkers are subjected to forced labor.
6. The dedication to nondiscrimination, gender justice, women's economic development, and freedom of association is the sixth principle.
7. Maintaining Safe Working Conditions
Employees and members of the organization should work in a safe and healthy atmosphere. It complies with national and municipal legislation, as well as ILO health and safety norms.
8. Providing Capacity Building
The organization improves the competencies and skills of its employees or members.
Organizations that deal directly with small producers establish specific programs to improve their management skills, production capacities, and market access - local, regional, international, Fair Trade, and mainstream markets, as appropriate.
9. Encouraging Fair Trade
The group works to raise awareness about the goal of Fair Trade and the need for more justice in global trade through Fair Trade.
It promotes Fair Trade aims and actions by the organization's mission.
10. Respect for the Environment
They employ production technologies that aim to reduce energy consumption and, when possible, use renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
They strive to reduce the environmental impact of their waste stream.
How does Fair Trade Work?
Fair Trade has been around since WWII, but it was initially centered on handicrafts, with products sold exclusively through Fair Trade shops (also known as world shops) and churches.
The idea of certification arose due to a shift toward fair trading of agricultural products in the 1980s.
The first recognized Fair Trade product was coffee, which was established in 1988.
The goal of certification was for consumers to tell which items paid farmers a fair price for their crops and adhered to Fair Trade ideals.
This means that products can be offered in general stores and not only specific Fair Trade shops.
What is the process of certification? Manufacturers pay to have the right to use a logo once an independent organization confirms that the commodities used in a product fulfill Fair Trade standards.
This informs customers that the product complies with Fair Trade certification criteria.
Top 10 Reasons to Support Fair Trade
Fairtrade is a social movement whose declared objective is to assist developing-country producers in improving their trading conditions and promoting sustainability.
Here are ten compelling reasons to join this cause.
- It means that farmers and producers will be paid fairly and have safe working conditions.
Farmers and producers earn a fair price and have a say in how their workplace is conducted, and Fair Trade products are created in safe and healthy working conditions.
- It is more environmentally friendly.
Fair Trade promotes environmentally friendly practices that reduce our carbon impact.
- It denotes high-quality products.
Artisans are proud of their creations. Crafts are frequently done by hand, implying greater attention to detail and, as a result, higher-quality products.
- It translates into better-tasting meals
Crops are planted and harvested in smaller numbers, and farmers are interested and invested in the entire production process.
That means food that is healthier for both you and the farmers who provide it.
- It is a reliable source of trade for farmers
Fair Trade is dedicated to establishing direct buyer-producer relationships. These collaborations allow purchasers to buy high-quality items from people they can trust while also providing farmers, craftspeople, and their families with a sustainable and predictable source of income.
- Fair Trade allows you to interact with people from different cultures
Fair Trade products are one-of-a-kind, both in terms of where they come from and who makes them. Farmers and artisans are involved throughout the process, and Fair Trade products are representative of the people and cultures from which they originate.
- Fair Trade means local economies that can thrive
Farmers and craftspeople have more influence over their futures thanks to Fair Trade. Rather than working for an intermediary, they can start their businesses, and the revenues stay in their communities and are reinvested in their firms.
- When it comes to Fair Trade, what you buy matters
You are not only gaining access to high-quality items, but you are also making a difference by changing peoples life who farm the food you eat and the things you use by purchasing Fair Trade products.
What Can We Do to Support Fair Trade?
Purchase Fair Trade goods! It's that simple! Sugar, chocolate, coffee, and bananas are the most prevalent products, all of which can be found at supermarkets.
Fair Trade Enterprises are built to make a difference. They are social enterprises that adhere to all Fair Trade principles.
The impact is 1 million people's lives, with women accounting for 74% of those affected.
Local communities are transformed, upcycling is pioneered, women are empowered, refugee rights are championed, and these businesses practice organic farming.
Their influence is widespread, and the WFTO serves as their global community.
These are the new economy's businesses. They help and trade with one another, speak up as a group, meet regularly, and interact at trade shows.
It's a movement, a community, and an idea all rolled into one.
What Can An Individual Do?
- Whether it's food, clothing, handicrafts, furniture, or other stuff, buy Fair Trade.
- Join the Fair Trade Facebook Group to get updates on upcoming events and talk about fair trade concerns with others.
- Support fair trade merchants and organizations by letting them know you approve of and buy their other products.
- Learn about the difficulties surrounding fair trade and encourage your family, friends, and coworkers to do the same.
- Let your local media and political representatives know about fair trade, where FT products are available, and what appropriate trade-related activities are coming up through letters to the editor, personal visits, and other means. Encourage legislators to prioritize fair trade in their policies.
- Encourage and encourage "North-South" community-to-community connections between residents of your area and fair trade manufacturers. This could take the form of donations, assisting Southern organizations in gaining access to our markets, or simply sharing their story with your community to boost support for fair trade.
- When it comes to Halloween,Christmas, Valentine's Day, or birthdays, consider fair-trade chocolate, flowers, apparel, or jewelry as a gift. Show your love for people and the environment, as well as your family and friends!
What Can Your Group Do?
- Your faith community might provide fair trade coffee and tea at all of its functions and daily. Invite a speaker to speak to your congregation at a worship service or special occasion about fair trade. During Children's Time, play a Fair Trade game or activity with the kids or youth groups, or read a Fair Trade children's book.
- At your meetings and events, Union Local provides fair trade coffee and tea and invites a speaker to speak on fair trade, cooperatives, and international solidarity.
- Workplace – appoint a staff member or a coffee service to provide fair trade products to your workplace.
- Make sure your local media is aware of fair trade. Hold a media-focused event to introduce the idea of fair trade and inform residents about what it is and where they can buy appropriate trade items.The media is always looking for new ideas: a suitable trade art show, gatherings encouraging the public to support different enterprises and so on.
What Can Your Company Do?
As a business, you can encourage solidarity commerce by adhering to the following World Fair Trade Organization guidelines:
Promote nature care practices
- Any company that wants to promote fair trade practices must treat the environment with respect in all its procedures.
- Use locally sourced, sustainable, recyclable, and biodegradable raw materials.
- Make use of energy-saving and greenhouse-gas-reducing technologies.
- Reduce your environmental impact by recycling as much as possible.
Establish transparency policies
- Transparency in management, as well as interactions with suppliers and consumers, is essential.
- Participate in decision-making processes with partners, suppliers, and customers.
- A proponent of truthful advertising and marketing strategies.
Set a fair trade deal
- Concerning small producers' economic well-being rather than maximizing profits at their expense.
- Follow through on the obligations made to suppliers promptly. Contracts must be followed to the letter.
- Offer adequate compensation when orders are canceled due to circumstances beyond the suppliers' control.
- Collaboration with other fair trade organizations across the country is a must.
- Keep an eye out for unfair competition.
Ensure favorable working conditions
- Respect (and, better yet, exceed) the international requirements for working conditions.
- Reject the use of child labor and forced labor.
- Respect the right of workers to form unions.
- Employees should have access to safe and sanitary facilities.
- Offer a good salary and a variety of benefits.
- Create work schedules that are compliant with current laws.
- Ensure gender equality and that no one is discriminated against because of their color, sexual orientation, or religion.
How to certify your company?
If your organization already engages in fair trade practices, your clients or consumers must know this. You can do one of three things:
- Get a Fair Trade seal
- Make a donation
- Become a member of the Global Fair Trade Network
Everyone gains when farmers and laborers are treated decently.
Fairtrade enables businesses to find ethically and sustainably produced goods while providing consumers confidence that the people who make the goods they buy are compensated fairly for their efforts.
Fairtrade cannot solve climate change, but it can help farmers become more resilient by providing them with tools, techniques, and resources.
Fairtrade ensures that everyone gets at least some part of the economic pie.
The entire concept of Fairtrade touches on our core beliefs and sense of right and wrong. Nobody wants to buy something that was manufactured at the expense of another person.