Whilst more and more people recognise the Fair Trade marque, a good deal less people understand the principles it supports. Below I look at what you are actually supporting when you choose a Fair Trade product;
Creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers
Fair Trade’s purpose is to create opportunities for producers who have been economically disadvantaged or marginalised by the conventional trading system.
Transparency and accountability
Fair Trade involves transparent management and commercial relations to deal fairly and respectfully with trading partners.
Fair Trade is a means to develop producers’ independence, relationships provide continuity, during which producers and their marketing organisations can improve their management skills and their access to new markets.
Payment of a fair price
Fair Trade provides fair pay to the producers and takes into account the principle of equal pay for equal work by women and men. Fairtraders ensure prompt payment to their partners and, whenever possible, help producers with access to pre-harvest or pre-production financing.
Fair Trade means that women’s work is properly valued and rewarded. Women are always paid for their contribution to the production process and are empowered in their organisations.
Fair Trade means a safe and healthy working environment for producers. The participation of children (if any) does not adversely affect their well-being, security, educational requirements and conforms to the “UN Convention on the Rights of the Child” as well as the law in the local context.
Fair Trade actively encourages better environmental practices and the application of responsible methods of production.
So next time you reach for a Fair Trade product you can be comfortable that you are helping producers according to these principles.