Fair Trade
Fair Trade is a global movement committed to paying fair prices in trade, impacting producers in developing countries. The concept came as a response to global poverty levels and focuses on the marketing of products and development trade. It also raises awareness of trade injustice in trade structures and advocates changes to favor equitable trade. Overall, the movement organizes producers and production and provides services to the producers.

From the 1970s to the 1980s, Fair Trade products were only sold to consumers in specified shops. In 1997, Fairtrade Labelling International was created, which expanded the movement into other countries including North America.

Fairtrade Labelling International set international standards for products in certifying production trade. When a product meets these standards, the company identifies the product with a label. Purchasing products with the Fair Trade label can improve a community. The funds from Fair Trade impact communities with social, economic and environmental development projects.

Fair Trade impacts the building of sustainable businesses by demanding fair wages and treatment. Workers can socialize with buyers while gaining a living wage. Both the employed and farmers may work efficiently with this system. More companies are investing in this movement, while it also ensures safe working conditions and prevents forced child labor.

Investing companies include Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Rishi Tea in China. Ben & Jerry’s was the first ice cream company to join the movement. With its popularity, it set an example for many other businesses to follow. Rishi Tea is based in China and makes organic teas out of some of the oldest gardens in the world. The company supports education, provides scholarship programs and builds hospitals and roads in secluded areas.

Fair Trade uses the money that may have been put toward high-priced goods to build schools instead. Since fair trade helps stabilize incomes, many families can keep their children in school. It provides supplies, scholarship programs and healthy meals. Fair Trade enables education for even the most outlying communities.

Fair Trade impacts workers, farmers and families. Farmers can receive market-based tools to prevent them from falling into poverty and may learn environmentally sustainable practices. Workers and families gain access to doctors, treatments and nutrition. These benefits enable people to help themselves as well as others in their communities.

Fair Trade is a model for alleviating global poverty. Many companies and markets are investing, impacting developing communities. From building sustainable businesses to providing education, the movement is life-changing for those living in poor communities around the world.

Brandi Gomez

Photo: Flickr