Fair trade. This label has been appearing on foods, coffee, and retail products for quite some time now. But what does it mean?
As said by Fairtradeusa.com, when something is fair trade, it means that the farmers or people who grow/create a product are fairly compensated.
“We help farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities…we teach disadvantaged communities how to use the free market to their advantage.”
Through fair trade practices, struggling communities are given fair wages and means to improve their living situation.
Women in particular are part of the fair trade movement, because females are still being discriminated against.
Many organizations have been created to aid poverty-stricken countries and people, and in order for a business to purchase from a fair trade worker, they have to abide by strict rules.
The Fair Trade Federation, which is a non-profit organization that deals with fair trade in North America, has something they call the nine fair trade principles.
The nine principles are:
- Create opportunities for marginalized producers
- Develop transparent relationships
- Build capacity
- Promote fair trade
Pay promptly and fairly
- Support empowering working conditions
- Ensure children’s rights
- Cultivate environmental stewardship
- Respect cultural identity.
The Fair Trade Federation features businesses that have excelled in fair trade practices. Through food, clothing, and other businesses, these are companies that have taken people out of dangerous situations.
One of the businesses on the site that really made me think was 108 Mala. On the 108 Mala website, the importance of fair trade is truly showcased through the company’s history.
“The founder Aalap Shah was in India working with an HIV non-profit organization. It was there that he met impoverished women in sex work who had to face the difficult choice of asking their clients to use a condom or earn more money as unprotected sex garners higher income. Aalap explains, ‘I started asking myself: who has the right to choice?