Fair trade is a movement to reduce poverty, create safe and equitable working conditions, and provide fair wages to disadvantaged producers around the world. Unlike traditional production and labor models, fair trade is based on dialogue, transparency, and respect between the people who create products and those who purchase and distribute them. Fair Trade guarantees many things including:
Fair wages: producers are paid a fair price for their goods and usually receive advance payment to cover supply costs.
Training & Support: Fair trade organizations provide professional development, training, and distribution channels for producers. In addition, they often provide access to medical treatment and education for artisans and their families.
Equitable, safe, and healthy working conditions: Fair trade groups provide safe and healthy working environments and do not discriminate based on gender, class, or health status. They comply, at a minimum, with national and local laws and International Labour Organization conventions on health and safety.
Ethical products: Consumers receive excellent products plus the peace of mind that comes with knowing they are actively addressing poverty, preserving the environment, and promoting an end to child labor.
Sustainable products: Fair trade actively promotes sustainable farming techniques, biodiversity, and bird and animal habitat preservation.
Identifying Fair Trade Products
Fair Trade Certified products receive third party certification from Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), which has established standards for labor, contracts and pricing. In the US, it is mostly foods that are certified, including coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa , spices, honey, sugar, vanilla, molasses, rice and quinoa, olive oil, avocados, bananas and other tropical fruits. There are also certified flowers and clothing. Products that use certified ingredients also carry a certification label such as some beverages, body lotions and frozen desserts.
While many products such as crafts, jewelry, and clothing are not yet Fair Trade Certified, the Fair Trade Federation (FTF) and the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) establish fair trade criteria that member businesses commit to following. Global Gifts is a member of the Fair Trade Federation and purchases its products from FTF and WFTO members.
Learn more about fair trade at fairtradefederation.org