As I shop more and more smaller companies I come across the term fair trade at times, but never realized what a huge impact it has on other countries.
Then, I stumbled upon this website that opened my eyes up even more about fair trade, especially with regards to chocolate.
Did you know that…
…almost 100 million children aged 5-17 work in agriculture and about half are unpaid family laborers, forced, trafficked, indentured, underpaid and/or working in hazardous conditions? And that over 2 million of these children work in West African cocoa—where over 70% of the world’s cocoa is grown?
…Mexico accounted for nearly 70 percent of the U.S. fresh vegetable import value in 2012? However, that included laborers faced with unsanitary and unsafe conditions, poor housing, exposure to harmful chemicals, debt bondage and in some cases child labor.
…most small-scale family farmers live in remote locations and lack access to credit, so they are vulnerable to middlemen who offer cash for their goods, like coffee & honey, at a fraction of its value?
Buying fair trade has changed many of these types of situations and made the terms, well…fair.
What Fair Trade Really Means?
Fair Trade means exactly how it sounds – goods are purchased from farmers and workers in developing countries for a fair price so they can build sustainable businesses that help their communities.
Bottom line: buying Fair Trade ensures that you’re getting quality products and the people who grow, sew and craft them get a fair deal for their hard work.
Here are just some of the positive impacts trading fairly has had in the world:
- farmers are able to practice sustainable farming techniques making a better planet for future generations
- women hired on Fair Trade farms and plantations are guaranteed access to health care, certain job rights, and freedom from harassment
- farming families are able to have the income and stability they need to keep their children in school, instead of in the fields.
- farm workers and their families have access to doctors, medicine, proper nutrition, vaccinations and health education
How Can You Help?
October is fair trade month and we all can do our part to raise awareness to this issue.
- Help spread the word – visit BeFair.org & Fair Trade USA – they have infographics, social media messages, logos, stickers, information cards, and more that you can use to post on your website, your social media accounts, or share in your newsletters. For social media messages use #BeFair OR #FairTrade
- Look for the Fair Trade Certified labels – these labels indicate that the product is fair trade certified or made with fair trade certified ingredients
- Get involved – join a Fair Trade campaign and help local communities normalize Fair Trade as an institutional practice and consumer preference
Who is Fair Trade USA?
Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization and the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. They provide farmers in developing nations the tools to thrive as international business people. They use a market-based approach that gives farmers fair prices, workers safe conditions, and entire communities resources for fair, healthy and sustainable lives.
What Types of Fair Trade Products Can I Buy?
You can find many Fair Trade products in the following categories:
- Apparel & Home Goods
- Beans & Grains
- Body Care
- Flowers & Plants
- Fruits & Vegetables
- Herbs & Spices
- Multi-Ingredient Foods
- Nuts & Oilseeds
- Sports balls
To find specific products and the companies Fair Trade USA has partnered with go here.
How will you help raise awareness for Fair Trade?