Fair trade is an organized social movement whose stated goal is to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions and to promote sustainability. Members of the movement advocate the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as higher social and environmental standards. The movement focuses in particular on commodities, or products which are typically exported from developing countries to developed countries.
Common fairtrade products include: handicrafts coffee cocoa sugar tea bananas honey cotton fresh fruit chocolate flowers gold Why do we need fairtrade??
Fair Trade supports people in impoverished communities across the world who don't have many options for making a living. They create/grow goods that are sold for a decent wage which allows them to support themselves and not rely on humanitarian programs. It supports small local communities and often times support the environment as well. An example would be fair trade coffee, the farmers grow the coffee beans in the shade of the natural trees promoting biodiversity and halting deforestation, while making enough money to support their families.
We don't "need" fair trade, if you prefer to keep buying your products from, say, WalMart and/or made in China where people work over 12 hours a day and make only pennies, you have that option still. But to support fair trade is to support your fellow human and recognize their basic rights as a human that they are not a form of slave labor who toil only to benefit the fat cats of corporations.
What are the benefits of fairtrade??
1. Stable prices
For most products there is a Fairtrade Minimum Price that aims to cover the costs of sustainable production – even when world market prices fall. See the table of Fairtrade Minimum Prices here.
2. A Fairtrade Premium
The Premium helps producers to improve the quality of their lives. It is paid on top of the agreed Fairtrade price, and producers decide democratically how to use it. Typically they invest it in education, healthcare, farm improvements or processing facilities to increase income.
Producers are involved in decisions that affect their future. Fairtrade certified producers jointly own and manage Fairtrade International. Through the Fairtrade International's Board, its Committees and consultation processes producers can influence prices, premiums, standards and overall strategy.
4. Empowerment of farmers and workers
This is a goal of Fairtrade. Small farmer groups must have a democratic structure and transparent administration in order to be certified. Workers must be allowed to have representatives on a committee that decides on the use of the Fairtrade Premium. Both groups are supported by Fairtrade International to develop their capacity in this area.
With Fairtrade everyone wins
Shoppers can buy products in line with their values and principles. They can choose from an ever growing range of great products. By buying into Fairtrade consumers support producers who are struggling to improve their lives.
Since its launch in 2002 the FAIRTRADE Mark has become the most widely, recognised social and development label in the world. Fairtrade offers companies a credible way to ensure that their trade has a positive impact for the people at the end of the chain.
Fairtrade rewards and encourages farming and production practices that are environmentally sustainable. Producers are also encouraged to strive toward organic certification. Producers must:
Protect the environment in which they work and live. This includes areas of natural water, virgin forest and other important land areas and dealing with problems of erosion and waste management.
Develop, implement and monitor an operations plan on their farming and techniques. This needs to reflect a balance between protecting the environment and good business results.
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