Fair Trade is happiness, Fair Trade is Food for kids, Fair Trade is a roof on someone’s head. It is your contribution to the society and efforts in choosing the right products that can bring Fair Trade Practices across the globe and make this planet a much happier and healthier place to live in.
Fair Trade as the name suggests is related to trading of products. From import export to production and manufacturing the right trade practices can bring a lot more than we realize in the lives of the people who are living around us spending most of their time earning enough wage to fight hunger for their kids.
Ever imagined “Who Picked Your Favorite Coffee from The Farms? or questioned the retailer of your favorite brand “Who Made My Clothes?”
We often are so busy in our own little world we rarely have time to sit and think “Who Made My Clothes?” or “Who picked my coffee-beans?” We assume and assure ourselves that all is as pretty in the world as we have made it for ourselves and our loved ones. Living in big cities we are constantly fighting to find time and comfort for ourselves. In all honesty, we do not have time to think about the world. Those of us who do take time out are made busy by numerous News Channels and World’s Political Scene.
Fair Payments, Farmer’s Suicide, Child Labor, Unhygienic Working Conditions, Malpractices and many more ugly truths of manufacturing and production world are hidden from us. We are happy looking at a pretty dress or a smart pair of jeans in a newly opened air-conditioned mall not realizing whose blood and sweat has gone into making these. In many developing countries child labor, bond labor/ unethical work practices are very common and Fair Trade works to address and eliminate all these inequalities of societies.
Fair Trade is surrounded by many myths and as consumers we are often lost. We do not have much visibility on how Fair Trade works and how we can contribute towards it.
Commonly considered as a charitable organization which is working towards making wages similar across the globe, Fair Trade Organizations are often questioned what do they exactly do? Before we start on how these organizations work and how you can recognize various logos associated to different fields of Fair Trade, let us clear your unanswered questions/ undiscovered Myths:
MYTH: Fair Trade is a form of CHARITY
REALITY: Fair Trade Organizations support charitable projects in addition to their work in trade, the exchange of goods remains the key element of their work.
MYTH: Fair Trade is to equalize the wages of developed and developing countries.
REALITY: Wages are designed to provide fair compensation based on the true cost of production, it is determined by a number of factors, including:
- The amount of time, skill, and effort involved in production
- Minimum and living wages where products are made
- The purchasing power in a community or area
- Other costs of living in the local context
Fair Trade ensures these key principles/ factors are followed and a worker is compensated fairly for his/ her work.
MYTH: Fair Trade results in more expensive products for the consumers
REALITY: Most fair-trade products are competitively priced in relation to their conventional counterparts. 360° Fair Trade Organizations work directly with producers, cutting out middlemen, so they can keep products affordable for consumers and return a greater percentage of the price to the producers.
Fair Trade is an organization which is working in different countries through the efforts of people who are aiming for a better tomorrow. Every country manages the Fair Trade for its own countries. As a consumer, you can recognize if the brand you are shopping with is Fair Trade supporter or not. Below is a quick information on all the Fair-Trade Organizations around the world.
- Fair Trade Foundation/ Fair Trade International
Fairtrade Foundation works in different sectors and provides certification for various manufacturers. From certified cotton to precious metal like gold and silver. The certification comes with its own marking/ logo.
The FAIRTRADE Marks are the globally recognized symbols of the international Fairtrade system. When you buy products with any of the FAIRTRADE Marks, you support farmers and workers as they improve their lives and their communities. Products bearing these Marks meet the internationally-agreed social, environmental and economic Fairtrade Standards. The FAIRTRADE Marks are registered trademarks owned and licensed by Fairtrade International.
Single ingredient products – If you’re looking at a bag of Fairtrade coffee or a bunch of Fairtrade bananas with the FAIRTRADE Mark, 100% of the product meets the Fairtrade Standards.
Composite products – For products like cookies, ice cream and chocolate bars, all ingredients that can be sourced as Fairtrade must be Fairtrade. This is the 'all that can be' principle. The percentage of each Fairtrade ingredient must be displayed on the back of the pack. And at least 20% of the content must be Fairtrade certified. Many companies go above and beyond that.
Traceability – Most Fairtrade products are physically traceable. This is not required for cocoa, sugar, fruit juices and tea.
Products with the FAIRTRADE Mark are available in more than 120 countries.
In Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland, the Mark will also include the words ‘Max Havelaar’ below FAIRTRADE.
2. Fair Trade Federation/ ‘ FTF ’
Fair Trade Federation works exclusively for North America. Whenever you see the FTF logo on a product tag or package, you will also see the member organization’s name. This is because FTF membership represents an entire organization, not just an individual product. The Fair-Trade Federation does not conduct onsite audits of individual supply chains; therefore, the logo does not represent a product certification. Rather, it represents membership in a network of organizations that have demonstrated a deep and lasting commitment to fair trade practices.
By buying products sold by Fair Trade Federation members, you are helping to transform the lives of artisans and farmers around the world.
3. World Fair Trade Organization/ ‘ WFTO ‘
The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) is a global network of organizations representing the Fair-Trade supply chain. Membership in WFTO provides Fair Trade organizations with credibility and identity by way of an international guarantee system, a place of learning where members connect with like-minded people from around the world, tools and training to increase market access, and a common voice that speaks out for Fair Trade and trade justice - and is heard.
WFTO has their independent offices in all continents.
It is the home of fair traders: producers, marketers, exporters, importers, wholesalers and retailers that demonstrate 100% commitment to Fair Trade and apply the 10 WFTO Principles of Fair Trade to their supply chain. The works and achievements of its members make WFTO a global authority on Fair Trade and a guardian of Fair Trade values and principles.
An organization supporting Fair Trade works with the Principles of Fair Trade set up by the organization. The 10 principles for Fair Trade are:
As consumers we may not be able to directly work with the farmers or the workers who are making our everyday life much easier to live. We can however, make right choices while shopping and ensure we question the brands on "Who made my clothes?" We can provide these developing world's children education and right to be a child by not shopping brands who do not care abou the working conditions of the people at the production house.
Be the change you want to see, support Fair Trade Practices.
All information shared here is for the purpose of creating awareness amongst people towards supporting Fair-Trade while making their shopping choices. This information has been taken from the following websites:
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