Fair and Square. Let’s Celebrate World Fair Trade Day.
Today is World Fair Trade Day. Now, all trade should be fair and everybody should be honest. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. That is one of the main reasons for the existence of the Fair Trade Foundation and its Fair Trade system.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade as it is defined by the Fair Trade Foundation is more than simply trading fair. It’s an alternative approach to conventional trade. It is based on a partnership between producers and consumers. If you, as a consumer, buy a fair trade product you improve the lives of the farmers that produced it.
When a product has the Fair Trade label it is produced according to the Fair Trade Standards.
What are the Fair Trade Standards?
There are standard for both Fair Trade producers and Fair Trade products.
Fair Trade Producer standards and some examples:
For small-scale producers. Small family-run producers that use little to no hired help. The producers should be democratically organized.
For hired labor. Workers should be able to join a union, and pay should be above the regional average
For contract production. This is the standard for small-scale producers who are not yet democratically organized.
Trader Standard. This standard applies to traders who buy and sell Fairtrade products, and/or handle the Fairtrade price and premium.
Climate standard. The main components of fair and sustainable trading relations in the standard include for example capacity building, labour conditions and environment, end buyer emissions reductions.
You can download the producer standards here.
You can download the product standards here.
Minimum Pricing and a Premium. Why?
The Fair Trade Foundation has set minimum prices for products bought from producers. This ensures the producers get a price for their products that covers their cost and allows them to continue their business in a sustainable way. It also protects them from sudden price drops. If the price level drops below the minimum, they still get the minimum. If the price is higher, they get that higher price.
There is also a Fair Trade Premium component in the Fair Trade Pricing. This money goes into a communal fund for workers and farmers. The fund is used to improve education and healthcare or make improvements to yield and quality to increase income.
You can find more information on Minimum Pricing and Premiums here. https://www.fairtrade.net/standards/price-and-premium-info.html
Let’s Go Banana’s!
So next time you are in the store, check to see if there is a Fair Trade version of the product you are buying. By doing so you support whole farmer/producer communities in developing countries.
That’s not just banana’s, but also Cocoa, Coffee, Cotton, Flowers, Sugar, Tea, Fresh Fruit, Gold, Honey, Juices, Rice, Spices and Herbs, Wine, and even Sports Balls!
If you are using a Fair Trade sports ball, be sure to play fair as well…
For more information on Fair Trade, please see www.fairtrade.net
For questions on importing fair trade products and customs, contact one of our specialists.