So what exactly is the meaning if Fair Trade? We get this question a lot and it is an important question to ask. According to Fair Trade Australia
“Fairtrade is about stable prices, decent working conditions and the empowerment of farmers and workers around the world.”
Fair trade businesses care about how a product is made, how the suppliers treat their workers and not just about the price of goods they are purchasing. Unlike conventional businesses, companies like Ethical Trading Group with uncompromising fair trade practices support communities, social and environmental sustainability goals, ensure workers’ rights and decent working conditions. These businesses seek to improve the position of their suppliers allowing them to have greater control over their own lives.
Fair trade businesses take responsibility for the workers in the factories or fields and their communities and they only select and sell products which are made with respect the environment and that are sustainable.
What does Fair Trade do?
Fair trade proves that greater justice in world trade is possible. When customers buy products such as our coffee with the Fair trade mark, they support workers to improve their lives and provide support to their communities.
The Fair trade mark on products shows consumers that the product has been produced by small organizations that meet international economic, social and environmental standards. These standards include the protection of children, workers’ rights, the preservation of the environment, payment of a minimum price and a premium to provide investment in initiatives to support business development in the local community.
Investment initiatives in community projects has led to improved health facilities, access to education for both children and adults, improved access to clean drinking water and improvements in sanitation. These projects go a long way in improving the quality of lives of people in these communities.
Ethical trading group (ETG), for example sources its prickly pear seed oil from suppliers in the Mid-Atlas Mountains in Morocco. By establishing a seed planting project ETG was able to provide a sustainable future for the woman of the community, increased accessibility to health care, improved longevity and a dramatic improvement in literacy rates.
- More than 1.65 million farmers and workers work in Fair trade certified organizations.
- Over 25% of these workers are women.
- Chocolate, coffee and tea makes up 94% of Fair trade sales.
- There are over 3,000 Fair trade certified products in Australia and New Zealand.
- Fair Trade makes a tangible contribution to the fight against poverty, climate change and economic crisis.
- Sales of certified Fair Trade products is growing fast – almost by 40 percent every year in the past 5 years.
Fair Trade MYTHS
Myth: Fair Trade makes products expensive.
Reality: The majority of Fair Trade products are competitively priced. Businesses like the Ethical Trading Group,with Fair trade practices, work directly with their suppliers, which cuts out any, enabling them to keep products affordable and return a greater percentage of the price to the producers.
Myth: Fair Trade produces low quality products.
Reality: While handmade products inherently have some variation, Fair Trade businesses continuously work to improve quality and consistency. Producers spend on average 37% of the premium they receive on investments supporting productivity or quality improvements and Fair Trade Organisations work directly with producers over the long-term to produce high quality products. Ethical trade group prides itself on its high quality products.
Myth: Fair Trade refers only to coffee and chocolate.
Reality: Fair Trade includes a wide variety of goods, including food, toys, handbags, baskets, clothing, home decor, jewelry, soap to name just a few. While coffee was the first agricultural product to be certified Fair Trade in 1988, Fair Trade handcrafts have been sold since 1946.
Make a difference – Eat drink buy Fair Trade
Just imagine how much of a difference you can make in the lives of people across the world, their communities, their children by supporting Fair trade and buying Fair trade products.
Fair trade empowers men and woman and saves and vastly improves the lives of many. Including fair trade in our lives reminds us that we are part of a world community, it reminds us to be thankful for what we have and to work to help those less fortunate. We can all play a part in making the world a better place for all. So when you are having your morning fair trade coffee sit back and know you have made a difference.
“Alone we can do so much but together we can do so much more” – Adapted from Helen Keller