What Is Fair Trade And What Does It Mean? – Definition, Products And Facts

Take a stroll down the cafe aisle of any large grocery store and you’ll likely see at least a bag or two of beans with a little “Fair Trade” tag on them. These bags are obviously no different from the others on the shelves, but their price is definitely the highest – at least $ 7 a pound and up to $ 15 a pound. You wonder what makes the extra money worth.

The answer is, when you pay more for fair trade coffee, the money goes straight to the farmers who grow it. Fairtrade coffee traders guarantee producers a fair wage for their products and, in return, producers promise to provide decent conditions for their workers and to grow their coffee in an environmentally friendly manner. The same guarantees apply to other Fair Trade labeled products, such as chocolate, sugar, bananas and cotton.

Fairtrade products are a hot commodity. UK newspaper The Guardian reports that global sales of fair trade products increased 15% in 2013, reaching a total of 4.4 billion pounds ($ 6.55 billion). Globally, the fair trade movement supported more than 1.4 million farmers and workers in 74 countries that year.

Principles of fair trade

The objective of fair trade is to reduce the poverty of farmers and workers in developing countries. This not only means paying them more in the short term, but also helping them improve their skills, strengthen their communities and protect the local environment so that its resources are there for future generations.

Organizations involved in fair trade, including Fair Trade USA and the Fair Trade Federation, have set out several basic principles that buyers and sellers should follow:

1. Direct trade
Fair trade importers work with producers in the most direct way possible. Eliminating middlemen allows importers to pay farmers more for the money their products end up getting on store shelves. Fair trade importers often deal with collectives: groups of small producers who run their own farms with little or no hired labor. To meet fair trade standards, collectives must be managed democratically, each farmer must have a voice and must distribute his profits equally among all members.

2. Fair price
Fair trade guarantees farmers a reasonable minimum price for their crops, regardless of falling market prices. Buyers promise to pay producers promptly for their goods, and producers, in turn, promise to pay all their workers a fair wage. Buyers also extend credit to their producers, for example by paying them before harvest, to ensure that producers have all the resources they need to deliver their produce on time.

3. Decent conditions
Fair trade requires that farmers provide safe and healthy conditions for their workers. It also bans all use of child labor and forced labor, which is prevalent in many parts of the world, especially on cocoa plantations, as Fair trade certification Fair Trade certification is a way to ensure that buyers and sellers adhere to the principles of Fair Trade. There are several different organizations that certify fair trade products, each with its own label and set of standards. To carry the Fair Trade label, a product must meet all the standards of the certification body, which regularly inspects farms to ensure that they comply with the rules. CNN reported in 2012. Fair trade rules prohibit all forms. abuse, harassment and discrimination against women. workers, including discrimination. according to political affiliation or union affiliation.

4. Respectful relationships
Fair trade promotes open and honest communication between producers, buyers and consumers. Fairtrade distributors do their best to provide producers with the information they need on market conditions, share what they know about best growing practices and provide technical assistance when needed. Importers seek to build long-term relationships with producers and work with them to resolve any issues that arise.

5. Community development
In addition to the normal price of their products, producers get a fair trade premium to invest in their communities. For coffee, for example, they’re paid $ 0.20 more per pound, plus $ 0.30 more if grown organically. These funds are intended for projects such as building new schools, providing scholarships, improving nutrition and health care, and digging wells. Farmers can also invest the money in their businesses, spend it on field irrigation or organic certification, which may allow them to get higher prices for their crops in the future.

6. Environmental sustainability
Although not all fair trade products are organic, farmers should use sustainable growing practices that protect natural resources, including water, soil and natural vegetation. The use of pesticides and fertilizers, especially the most harmful, is restricted. Farmers are also committed to using energy efficiently and managing waste properly, reducing, reusing and recycling it whenever possible. The use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is specifically prohibited for all fair trade products.

7. Respect for local culture
Fair trade distributors undertake to respect the cultural heritage of the producers with whom they work. Instead of forcing them to adopt the latest and most efficient cultivation or production methods, they allow them to follow their traditional practices, while teaching them new techniques. In this way, producers can keep their traditions alive while increasing their production to meet market demands.

Fair trade certification

Fair Trade certification is a way to ensure that buyers and sellers adhere to the principles of Fair Trade. There are several different organizations that certify fair trade products, each with its own label and set of standards. To carry the Fair Trade label, a product must meet all the standards of the certification body, which regularly inspects farms to ensure that they comply with the rules.

Fair trade labels

There are several fair trade labels that you can see for yourself in the aisles of the supermarket. They understand :

The largest fair trade organization in the world is Fairtrade International. It works with over 1,200 different producers in 74 countries, employing over 1.5 million farmers and workers. Fairtrade International employs an organization called FLOCERT to certify all of its members and enforce its standards. Its label, known under the brand name FAIRTRADE, appears on more than 27,000 products worldwide, including food, beverages, cotton, clothing and jewelry.

Fair trade certificate
The Fair Trade Certified label represents Fair Trade USA, the main certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. This organization, formerly known as Transfair USA, was once part of Fairtrade International, but was dissolved in 2011, adopting a new name and its own set of standards. For example, Fairtrade International requires that all of its coffee come from collectives of small farmers, while Fair Trade USA also accepts coffee from large plantations managed by a single company. Fair Trade USA certifies a wide variety of products, including coffee and tea, fresh fruits and vegetables, spices, wine, and clothing. Inspections of these products are carried out by an external certifier called SCS Global Services.

Just for life
Most fair trade programs apply to specific products and do not concern anything other than the company producing (companies can produce multiple products, some fair trade, others not). Fair for Life, on the other hand, only works with companies that offer fair wages and working conditions to all of their staff, as well as their suppliers, and not just the producers of certain specific products. The Fair for Life label can be used for almost any type of goods (food or non-food, raw materials or finished products) as well as for certain types of services. Currently, there are approximately 500 Fair for Life certified products, all of which are manufactured by companies that meet Fair for Life standards. The certification process is administered by the Institute for Marketecology.

Member of the Federation of Fair Trade
The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) is not a certification program; rather, it is a membership organization for American and Canadian companies that follow the principles of fair trade. Individual companies pay membership fees to the Federation and obtain the right to display their label, which shows that they adhere to the principles of fair trade. Companies do not need to be Fair Trade certified to join the FTF, which means they do not need to pay the fees charged by FLOCERT and Fair Trade USA for their programs. However, they must demonstrate that they adhere to the group’s strict code of practice for all of their products – a strict standard that only 50% to 60% of all applicant companies can adhere to.

World Fair Trade Organization
The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) is a global network of small fair trade organizations, as well as individual businesses. WFTO has a five-step assurance system to monitor all of its members and ensure that they adhere to the Fair Trade Principles and the Group Fair Trade Standard. Managed from a central office in the Netherlands, WFTO represents more than 370 member organizations and 40 individual partners, spanning 70 countries and 5 continents.

UTZ certification
The UTZ Certified program is not a fair trade certification body, but upholds many of the same principles: sustainable agriculture, safe working conditions and better opportunities for farmers and their families. Unlike fair trade, UTZ does not guarantee farmers a benchmark price for their crops, but pays them a premium over the market rate, while helping them improve quality and yield so that their crops are worth more. UTZ monitors the farms it works with to ensure they comply with its codes of conduct, which cover farming methods, working conditions and the environment. UTZ is the world’s largest sustainably grown coffee and cocoa program, accounting for almost 50% of all sustainably labeled coffee; Its customers include large companies such as Mars, NestlĂ© and IKEA.

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