What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is based on economic principles and social justice. I’m not pointing any fingers here, but it should already be obvious that it’s not your traditional commercial trading. Fair Trade improves the lives of millions of disadvantaged artisans and farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America, by providing opportunities to trade and develop partnerships with developing countries. This partnership helps them to improve the lives of their families and living conditions, as well as build their businesses.
How do I know if an item is a Fair Trade Product?
|photo from Fair Trade USA.org|
What is a Fair Trade Organization?
A Fair Trade Organization is “a big dog“…they watch over manufacturers, producing communities and organizations to ensure that they are following guidelines specific to Fair Trading to ensure economic principles and social justice. Below is an example from the World Fair Trade Organization on a few principles that they hold their members to for producers (workers/artists). The above link will also take you to a page where you can search for FT products or organizations who are 100% committed to the principles of Fair Trade.
1. Gender equity - Women and Men are paid equitably for equal work. Fair traders recognize the value of the work women perform as producers and as leaders.
2. Healthy working conditions - Fair Trade means a safe and healthy working environment. Any children who participate in Fair Trade production are assured security, education, well-being and recreational requirements in accordance with the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child.
3. Transparency and Accountability - From managers and commercial relations to prevent easy manipulation. Some are subject to external verification, audits and frequent self-assessments.
|Necklace created by Runako Designs using|
Fair Trade beads
5. Favorable Terms - Most Fair Traders extend several months of working capital to their producer on favorable terms in advance of receiving product; whereas, most commercial trading terms carry a 60 to 90 day wait for payment. These favorable terms of Fair Trader partners - typically 50%, allow producers to ensure material costs are covered and assists in preventing hardship, should items fail to sell. This favorable terms encourages producers to produce only quality products for their partners.
These are just a sampling of the economic principles that Fair Traders are held to. Most organizations follow similar guidelines with few differences. Visit WFTO for a complete list of their principles and participating organizations.
Well….that’s my drive by education for today. That should be plenty to get you excited about spreading the word and doing more research on Fair Trade.
Tomorrow I’ll share with you a story about my favorite Fair Trade retailer in my own hometown and what great events they have coming up for Fair Trade Day…you won’t want to miss.
Until then, take a look around the following websites, they are loaded with great information. Then skip over to Autonomie Project, where they are holding a Fair Trade Tee Design Contest. If you have skills and want to see if you can design a winning tee, you have 6 more days for your chance at stardom!
Resource links for your pleasure:
Word Fair Trade Organization
Fair Trade Resource Network
Fair Trade USA
Fair Trade Federation
World Fair Trade Day (official Site)
Unveiling and teaching,