You may have seen or read about Fairtrade over the last few years. It’s a movement that came about in order to help producers of goods in developing countries by promoting their goods, and implementing practices that protect them. There are a number of different organisations that are recognised as certified Fairtrade organisations, each of which can use labels that guarantee a product has been made using Fairtrade ethical practices.
Why should you buy Fairtrade products and who will benefit? Here are a few reasons that may help you understand what Fairtrade is all about.
Free Trade – free trade is the norm, yet it is dominated by large organisations to the detriment of poorer nations. Fairtrade provides support for smaller producers – farmers, perhaps, who produce on a small scale – in the face of this unstoppable opposition, giving smaller traders a chance to flourish and export to developed countries.
Community Development – the Fairtrade label signifies that profit made from the product will be driven back into the community. Fairtrade helps build schools, improve conditions such as sanitation, develops training programmes and more. It is a proven model that helps developing communities move forward and grow.
Developing Talent – Fairtrade encourages talent to develop in the communities it supports. Although Fairtrade products cover many different areas of commerce – food, tea, chocolate and even clothing – there are many outlets selling hand crafted Fairtrade items such as Carved Culture who sell toys, musical instruments and decorative items which are very popular with buyers.
Working Conditions – one of the primary aims of the Fairtrade movement lies in eliminating the developing world’s reliance on forced and child labour. All workers on Fairtrade farms and other production sites are guaranteed good working conditions, fair wages and benefits, hence Fairtrade is firmly against any form of forced labour which is strictly forbidden. Buy Fairtrade, and you can rest assured whoever made, grew or developed your product wanted to do so, and was duly rewarded.
Quality Products – no genetically modified products can be used in Fairtrade items, and the use of chemicals and pesticides must be kept to a minimum. Also, waste management is monitored and water and energy usage is controlled for efficiency, making Fairtrade products among the most ecologically friendly of all.
Unique Items – by searching for quality products in the developing world, Fairtrade brings to the market truly unique products as well as mainstream food and consumable items. This means that you can find a wide variety of products that would make very suitable gifts, and still be aware that you are contributing to helping a community in the developing world grow and prosper.
Fairtrade is about tipping some of the commercial balance back towards the people who struggle in the face of corporate giants. Producers are paid a fair price, are looked after and are able to develop their skills over time, and those who buy Fairtrade can be satisfied that they have bought quality goods that have been made not by a mass-producer, but by smaller producers in a poorer nation.