What is fair trade?
Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency, and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade.
As members of the Fair Trade Federation, we fully commit to the following 9 principles:
Fair Trade helps socially and economically marginalized people all around the world. The most significant way Fair Trade creates opportunity is by providing access to the global market. This process gives producers a chance to break the cycle of poverty and provide sustainably for themselves and their families.
Fair Trade builds long-term, trusting and respectful relationships with producers. Producers have access to technical and financial assistance which helps them improve their skills over time to create the most sustainable business model.
Producers set prices based on the cost of labor, time and materials. Buyers pay promptly and often provide small business loans to ensure producers have all the resources they need to succeed. Buyers and producers work together to ensure income is divided fairly and equally.
Fair Trade provides safe and healthy work environments. It also ensures no child labor, no forced labor, no physical, sexual or verbal harassment and eliminates all discrimination based on race, caste, gender, nationality, religion, disability, sexual orientation, age, marital or health status.
Fair Trade promotes proactive and honest communication along the entire trade chain. This transparency creates open and respectful relationships between producers, buyers and consumers. Transparency also encourages cooperative work to resolve problems and obtain best practices.
Fair Trade aims to provide children with the right to security, education and play. The UN Conventions on the Rights of the Child are recognized and supported. In addition, Fair Trade respects the local laws and customs of producer groups. Often, this allows women to work at home to stay with their children or childcare services are provided on sight in local workshops.
Fair Trade attempts to conserve, preserve and cultivate the environment whenever possible. One of Fair Trade’s goals is to secure resources for future generations. This can be achieved by promoting the use of reused, reclaimed and recycled materials.
Members of Fair Trade groups celebrate the cultural diversity of communities around the world. Fair Trade products are created using traditional techniques. Fair Trade aims to create products that both protect cultural heritage and are marketable on a global scale.
Members of Fair Trade groups aim to encourage an understanding of the entire global trade chain from producer to consumer. They also work to raise awareness about Fair Trade in their communities so that consumers can make informed decisions about their purchases. Fair Trade provides evidence that global trade can be a positive force for improving living and working conditions, health and wellness, education and the environment.
What Does This Really Mean?
Fair Trade is much more than a trading system. It’s a holistic system of connecting people along the entire trade route: from the devoted farmers and talented artisans who make and grow the products, to the dedicated members of organizations who develop and import the products, bringing them to the global market, to retailers like us and customers like you – every step is important.
Meant to be a long-term system, not short-term charity, Fair Trade works to make communities on all levels sustainable. Fair Trade Organizations are invested in the people they work with, helping them meet nutritional needs, get access to health care, receive financial training, and a variety of other projects, depending on the needs of the community. Sometimes they may need a new sewing room, or a daycare facility, a clean-water well, irrigation system or they may even have enough for a basketball court! The impact of Fair Trade goes way beyond a fair, living wage; it empowers those living in poverty, especially women who are often the most marginalized, to create positive change in their lives and their communities.