What is fair trade?
According to the World Fair Trade Organization, “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.” The benefits of purchasing fair trade products reach producers, consumers, and the environment.
Source: What is fair trade? World Fair Trade Organization
Companies that offer fair trade products show attentiveness to social responsibility. Principals of fair trade include:
- Treating others with respect by paying a living wage so needs for food, housing, education or medical care can be met;
- Providing opportunities for advancement and technical and educational assistance;
- Ensuring safe working conditions;
- Working to develop long term trade relationships;
- Helping develop environmental and sustainable practices; and
- Working directly with producers, eliminating expensive and sometimes exploitative middlemen and helping to provide producers with a way to reach global markets with their products.
Specific items available for purchase through fair trade certification programs include: cocoa, sugar, rice, vanilla, olive oil, wine, coffee, honey, bananas, mangoes, pineapple, grapes, tea, herbs, and apparel
Several fair trade networks operate globally, such as Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), Network of European Worldshops (NEWS), European Fair Trade Association (EFTA), and TransFair USA.