A dictionary definition is “trade between companies in developed countries and producers in developing countries in which fair prices are paid to the producers”.
In practice it is a lot more than that. Trading fairly means providing opportunities for the farming and working communities in the poorer nations of our world to help themselves. It allows them to have more control of their own futures, to enjoy decent working and living conditions and helps to sustain and protect the environment in which they live and work.
Fairly traded products beneficially impact the lives of millions of farmers, artisans and their families, working in over 58 of the world’s poorest countries. Fair trade has a positive effect in beginning to address the imbalance between the world's richest people in the developed world and the poorest in the emerging economies of the third world.
Fairly traded products provide producers with more resources and importantly control of their own future and developing businesses and at the same time promotes sustainable production practices and respect for nature.
Most importantly, fair trade is not charity - it offers these producers a predictable income allowing true change and development and promoting self sufficiency.
How is Fair Trade implemented?
Trading fairly can involve many different measures:
By buying directly from producers, the middlemen are cut out and a greater proportion of the price paid goes to the producer.
Buyers may pay producers in advance, provide reasonable loans to help them through difficulties or provide design advice and guidance on marketing their products.
Fair trade companies provide access to international markets.
Buying goods at prices that fully cover the cost of production, ensuring good working conditions and wages for the producer and his employees and providing employment security.
Defining and promoting certification for producers based on minimum social, environmental and economic standards and continuous improvement.
Why buy Fair Trade?
respects the hard work of the producer
provides a fair wage for the producer and his employees
is anti-slavery and anti-child labour
supports environmental conservation
Buying fair trade versions of products that we need anyway, gives every one of us an easy opportunity of making a valuable contribution to improve the way of life for the millions in this world that are less well off than we are. Surely we can afford a few pence more in the knowledge that others will benefit?
In a global trading market, Fair Trade makes a world of difference
The FAIRTRADE Mark on products means that international Fairtrade Standards have been met. Choosing products with this Mark supports marginalised farmers and workers to build a better future for themselves through trade.
For further information visit fairtrade.org.uk or click on the adjacent Mark.