Fair trade is the act of fairly compensating workers and working in developing countries in order to create a sustainable business climate. Fair Trade USA teaches disadvantaged communities to use their own resources to better their situation. Instead of buying everyday items from big businesses that have already been established, consumers should try buying fair trade items to help local economies in need.
Some 12,000 fair trade-certified products come from 70 different countries and can be found in 100,000 retail locations across the U.S. Items like coffee, tea, herbs, sugar, apparel, bedding, and tech products are all available through fair trade. According to research by George Washington University, “farmers and workers around the world have now earned over $175 million in additional income, including $35 million in fair trade development premiums” due to fair trade products.
In fair trade, proceeds go to the social, economic, and environmental development of the country where the product came from. A network of community activists decides how the funds are used. Past projects include schools, wells, agricultural education initiatives, and entrepreneur training.
Another benefit of fair trade is that it sets up non-discriminatory, democratic structures in the businesses of local communities. This prevents corruption and exploitation. Workplaces must be safe and up to code and any chemicals used must be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner. There can be no child labor or discrimination, and workers must have access to collective bargaining.
– Stephanie Lamm