Categories: Green

What is Fair Trade and How Can You Support It?

You’ve probably heard of Fair Trade by now. If not, you may be curious about what it actually means or if it’s something you should support.

According to the World Fair Trade Organization (WTO), Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency, and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers.”

There are 10 principles that govern Fair Trade organizations. Strict adherence to these principles must be upheld in the daily operations of work, in businesses that seek to be recognized as Fair Trade businesses. They include:

  1. Creating opportunities for disadvantaged producers.
  2. Practicing transparency and accountability.
  3. Observing fair trade practices.
  4. Providing fair payment.
  5. Involving no forced or child labor.
  6. Exercising gender equality, freedom of association, and no discrimination.
  7. Providing good working conditions.
  8. Developing and building capacity (management skills, production capabilities, etc.).
  9. Promoting fair trade.
  10. Respecting the environment.

The belief is that by making the right choices every day, in the operation of their businesses, business owners can create more opportunities for people who have fewer opportunities on a global scale.

Fair Trade’s Impact

You’re probably curious about the way Fair Trade impacts the lives of the people it touches. When you buy Fair Trade goods, you can make the following impacts:

  • Create income stability by providing living wages that sustain households.
  • Deliver empowerment to workers from all walks of life regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, position in society, cultural background, or social status.
  • Promote environmental stewardship at all levels of production, affecting local communities, individual producers, and the planet as a whole.

According to Fair Trade Certified, Fair Trade products originate in over 45 countries, with products sold in the U.S. There’s also more than 1,250 responsible businesses participating in this mission and these numbers are growing. This equals $440 million in financial benefits since Fair Trade began. In addition to much needed money going into impoverished corners of the world, Fair Trade offers livable wages and a cleaner environment that has affected 1.6 million farmers and workers along the way.

Fair Trade Certified helps to enable empowerment in communities for sustainable development by cultivating a more equitable worldwide trade model that benefits:

  • Consumers
  • Industries
  • Fishermen
  • Farmers
  • Workers
  • The Earth

Fair Trade Products

If you believe this sounds like a wonderful thing for the world, you’re not alone. What you may not know, is what type of products you can purchase through Fair Trade organizations. There are many different options available, including:

  • Tea
  • Beauty products
  • Sugar
  • Coffee
  • Cotton
  • Coconut
  • Chocolate
  • Flowers
  • Gold
  • Fresh produce
  • Wine

As awareness of Fair Trade and what it means for society as a whole grows, so does demand for more businesses to sell Fair Trade products.

Why Support Fair Trade?

When you support Fair Trade, you do what’s right for people and the planet. The products we buy and sell are connected to the livelihoods of others. Fair Trade is a way to make a conscious choice for a better world. A choice for Fair Trade Certified goods is a choice to support responsible companies, empower farmers, workers, and fishermen, and protect the environment. It’s a way of doing business that can change the world.

How To Support Fair Trade

One of the first things you can do is look for the Fair Trade logo on products you purchase every day. If you are unable to find products with this logo in local stores, make it your mission to let store owners know that they would be doing a service for their customers, communities and the world by offering these products on their shelves.

Another great way to support Fair Trade is to educate others about it and bring awareness as to what it means to communities, families and the planet. This will bring an increase in people demanding that local stores, in large and small communities, carry Fair Trade certified products.

Remember, each and every day we have choices. We make hundreds if not thousands of choices every day in the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the coffee we drink and even the mattress we sleep on. Each decision we make has the power to put people and the planet first, to help protect and sustain Mother Earth and the lives who live within her.

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    Amber Merton

    Amber Merton is an accomplished writer on the topics of green living and sleep. Her work has been covered in numerous online publications. Amber has been a regular author on the PlushBeds blog for the past 7 years.

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