what is fair trade?
Whether you realize it or not, each and every dollar that we spend is like casting a vote for the types of products or services we endorse or deny. A vote for the type of company or organization we want to promote, or even the type of future we want to support or prevent. And when you purchase just about anything, you are creating an economic chain reaction in support of a supply chain for good or for naught. All businesses must watch their bottom lines and responsibly manage their costs to make a profit. But if they only make a profit, they fail to succeed, because as Henry Ford once said,
the role of business is to promote the common good.
Recently, more and more businesses have chosen to operate under a philosophy called the triple bottom line, which measures success socially, environmentally and economically. These organizations are leaders in a new way of conducting business in the world and take into account the fact that there is no true prosperity unless we take into consideration “all of us.” Their organic and fair trade certified operations ensure that value is added at each step of the value chain and to all stakeholders. The tri actively supports organic, fairly traded, triple bottom line companies who use their businesses to create positive economic chain reactions and win-win situations for producer and purchaser. As participants in our democracy, we have the power to move mountains. Vote with your dollars.
Fair trade is a social movement whose stated goal is to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions and to promote sustainable farming. Members of the movement advocate the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as improved social and environmental standards. The movement focuses in particular on commodities, or products which are typically exported from developing countries to developed countries, but also consumed in domestic markets (e.g. Brazil, India and Bangladesh) most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, wine, sugar, açai, fresh fruit, chocolate, flowers, and gold. The movement seeks to promote greater equity in international trading partnerships through dialogue, transparency, and respect. It promotes sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers in developing countries. Fair trade is grounded in three core beliefs; first, producers have the power to express unity with consumers. Secondly, the world trade practices that currently exist promote the unequal distribution of wealth between nations. Lastly, buying products from producers in developing countries at a fair price is a more efficient way of promoting sustainable development than traditional charity and aid.
Fair trade labeling organizations most commonly use a definition of fair trade developed by FINE, an informal association of four international fair trade networks: Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International, World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), Network of European Worldshopsand European Fair Trade Association (EFTA). Specifically, fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency, and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. Fair trade organizations, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising, and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.
There are several recognized fair trade certifiers, includingFairtrade International (formerly called FLO, Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International), IMO, Make Trade Fairand Eco-Social. Additionally, Fair Trade USA, formerly a licensing agency for the Fairtrade International label, broke from the system and is implementing its own fair trade labeling scheme, which has resulted in controversy due to its inclusion of independent smallholders and estates for all crops. In 2008, Fairtrade International certified approximately (€3.4B) of products.The World Trade Organization publishes annual figures on the world trade of goods and services.
what is fair trade? It’s conscious participation.
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