Fair Trade

Fair

adjective \ˈfer\

1.in accordance with the rules or standards; legitimate
2. marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism

We’ve all heard of the term “fair trade”, but what does it actually mean?

Fair Trade centers around the exchange of goods and services based on principles of economic and social justice. The international group FINE defined Fair Trade as

“a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency, and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, disadvantaged producers and workers—especially in the South.”

Although there is no one governing body to determine the status of Fair Trade products, all certified products must meet certain requirements such as:

  • Fair wages: All workers are paid a fair living wage for their time and materials.
  • Safe labor conditions: Working conditions are clean, safe, and conducive to productivity for all workers.
  • No slave labor: Products are made by willing workers who are receiving compensation equal to their labor.
  • Environmental sustainability: The materials used to make the products are used at a rate that can be continued indefinitely without substantial harm to the environment.

How does buying fair trade products impact human trafficking?

Poverty is a major reason that people are vulnerable to being trafficked. In small Third World Communities, being a part of a coop or artisan group that ensures a fair, living wage means a way out of poverty. Not only is labor exploitation prevented, but because the adults are making fair, living wage, the children are able to attend school. They don’t have to work, and their parents won’t be tempted to send them to “the city” for a job or education. Parents often send their children away with “friends” or “relatives” promising better opportunities, only to never hear from the children again.

Our nonprofit (and many others) encourage folks to buy Fair Trade Certified products, because the more demand we create for them, the more products will be made available, and the more people will be paid a fair, living wage.

Buying fair trade means taking a stand against human trafficking and ensuring that no person has to choose between selling their body and starving. Not only that, approximately 20% of trafficking victims are forced into slave labor and are underpaid to keep manufacturing costs low.

Where can I buy fair trade products?

  • Many local grocery store sell a few Fair Trade products

Look for these symbols when you’re shopping for coffee, tea, chocolate:

 

If you are in the Greenville area, our nonprofit sells Fair Trade products at

Spring Run Market

3701 Charles Blvd #104
Greenville, NC 27858

Springrunmarket.com

***We’ll also be at PirateFest on April 8-9th in Uptown Greenville.***

For a wider variety of products, check out these websites.

Fair Trade USA has a list of licensed Fair Trade companies:

http://fairtradeusa.org/products-partners#tabset-tab-2

&

Green America has a list of Fair Trade retailers: http://www.greenamerica.org/programs/fairtrade/products/wheretobuy.cfm

Additionally, the Fair Trade Resource Network has tips and websites to help you find specific fair trade companies and products near you: http://www.fairtraderesource.org/learn-up/identifying-fair-trade-products/

 

Writing for Freedom,

Darien Smith

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