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Fair Trade

What is Fair Trade? on burlap background

In simplest terms it’s trading fairly, but you came here for a little more than that.  Keep reading for a short but sweet explanation of what Far Trade is, and some resources you can use to further your exploration if desired.

As simple as the title Fair Trade can sound, the word “fair” is quite subjective.  There needs to be guidelines set to help everyone involved define this word.  This is where Fair Trade organizations such as Fair Trade Federation come in.  Nonprofit Fair Trade organizations are the key connection between the customer and the crafter; they set the guidelines for all in the process to follow.  If not for these organizations, Fair Trade would probably not exist.

The Fair Trade Federation’s definition:

“Fair trade is an approach to business and to development based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks to create greater equity in the international trading system.
Fair trade supports farmers and craftspeople in developing countries who are socially and economically marginalized. These producers often face steep hurdles in finding markets and customers for their goods.”

 

Within the Fair Trade community, the definition of “fair” can branch into many avenues, these leading mostly to sustainability; both environmental and social.  If we break this down further we get principles like:

  • fair wages for workers
  • safe work environments
  • environmentally sustainable practices
  • and supporting companies who bolster their communities and not take advantage of them
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These items can be broken down even further, and defining these terms is usually what sets each organization apart.  All organizations mean well, yet they all have a slightly different way to achieve it.

Some organizations only focus on the raw goods that come from farming and mining, others only focus on the production and retail aspects; The Fair Trade Federation focuses on all levels of the supply chain from raw good procurement to manufacturing and distributing.  All of Fair Winds Market products are certified under Fair Trade Federation.

 

So why should you shop Fair Trade?

Let us throw you right in the middle of it… 

Imagine yourself in the deepest definition of poverty, with dirt floors, in a shanty built well enough to keep some elements and most animals out, limited access to fresh water and food, no electricity, no modern day amenities that a lot of us take for granted.

OK, so what are you left with?

You have your body, your mind, your family, and your community.  You naturally want to keep these things safe.  The first thing you would think is finding some way to put food and water on the table, but doing what and for who and at what cost?  In some regions, the options without Fair Trade are very limited.  There are little if any government programs, and without Fair Trade practices, some of the most discouraged people will most likely fall to these negative influences:  Slave trade, sex slave trade, drugs, war, nearly slave labor for rations are all real possibilities that won’t be ending well for that family or for the community as a whole.

Yes, this is a worst case scenario, but it’s real.

Fair trade gives these families a different option; a safer, healthier, friendlier option.  Fair trade gives artists, farmers, and producers access to a wealth of distributors, retailers, and economies through the organization that only asks the company for transparency and fairness in the form of environmental and social sustainability for their workers and communities involved.  Once this mutual respect is established, a community has a great chance to flourish under Fair Trade and in the process maintaining a breeding ground for all that is good.

This is a reality that many face in the world and there are several families, communities, organizations, and people like you to thank for a good outcome.  Buy something Fair Trade, and pass the story onto your friends.  Fall in love with something handmade that is bettering all of the world one item at a time, and filling your house with quality items that spark wonderment and curiosity into another’s life.   Support art and community.  Help us all win, one family at a time.

 

Resources:

The FairTradeFederation.org has a wealth of information explaining their practices and principles.  All of our products are certified Fair Trade through the Fair Trade Federation.

The World Fair Trade Organization