For many of us, we have heard the phrase “fair trade” tossed around here and there at various craft shows, local ministries, non-profits, and even in nation-wide corporations. We all feel much better when we know what we are buying is fair trade. We feel a sense of social responsibility to buy all products marked “fair trade.”
But wait. Do we even know what “fair trade” means? Do we really know why we should feel good after purchasing a fair trade product?
By definition, fair trade is when a fair price is paid for a product and the money paid is given directly back to the product’s producer in a developing country. Not only that, but most fair trade partnerships also help promote clean and sustainable environment practices as well as produce higher quality products than most factory-produced items.
Too often, buying and selling is based simply on pushing products and driving profits. Typically, when I stand in the grocery isle or shop for clothing online, I’m not always thinking about the long chain of individuals my cereal or pair of pants went through to make it available for purchase. If I did, I would realize that many workers at the beginning of the chain are not getting their fair share of profits. The individuals who make the products often receive unfair compensation for their work.
This is why fair trade is so important to helping stabilize and support developing countries.
The World Fair Trade Organization lists 10 Principles of Fair Trade that help us better understand how it is positively impacting the world. Just a few of these important principles:
- Opportunities for disadvantaged workers
- Transparency and accountability
- No discrimination, gender equity, and freedom of association
- Good working conditions
- No child labor or forced labor
You can check out the full list of fair trade principles and learn more about what you can do to help here: http://wfto.com/fair-trade/10-principles-fair-trade
When we buy fair trade products, we are not only helping small-scale workers around the globe, but we are also empowering them to use their talents and skills to make a livelihood. While charity and donations are helpful to third-world workers, it is even better if we can help support them in their occupation, which in turn promotes long-term relief.
All of Elevāt’s products are fairly traded. We can rest assured that when we purchase a product, our money goes directly back to the woman who made it - helping to support her family and livelihood.
Fair trade partnerships make it possible to truly make a positive difference in the world and enjoy quality, beautiful products while doing so!