Frequently Asked Questions About Fair Trade
What is Fairtrade? / What is Fair Trade Certified?
Fair Trade is the solution that makes a big difference for the people who grow and make the things we love.
When a product is Fair Trade Certified, that means it has passed all of the qualifications to become Fair Trade, including improving working conditions, protecting land and paying a living wage. In the United States, Fair Trade certification can be most commonly achieved through Fair Trade USA or Fairtrade America.
Fair Trade as a movement began in the late 1940s when an American businesswoman began a women’s sewing group in Puerto Rico run by the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). At around the same time in 1946, a nonprofit organization called SERRV (Sales Exchange for Refugee Rehabilitation and Vocations) was established in the United States by the Church of the Brethren to form trade relationships with poor communities in South America. The first formal Fair Trade shop in the United States was established in 1958. After 34 years of successful trade, the project was renamed Ten Thousand Villages.
Since the late 90s, more global networks have been established. Regional networks include the Asia Fair Trade Forum (now WFTO ASIA), Co-operation for Fair Trade in Africa (now WFTO Africa and Middle East), the Association Latino Americana de Comercio Justo (now WFTO Latin America) and IFAT Europe (now WFTO Europe). National networks also grew like Ecota Fair Trade Forum in Bangladesh, Fair Trade Group Nepal, Associated Partners for Fairer Trade Philippines, Fair Trade Forum India, and the Kenya Federation for Alternative Trade (KEFAT). Additionally, there are numerous labelling groups in the United States, such as Fair Trade USA (formerly Transfair), Fair Trade America, the Fair Trade Federation and brands like Equal Exchange.
During its history of over 60 years, as World Fair Trade Organization reports, Fair Trade has developed into a widespread movement. Thanks to the efforts of Fair Trade Organizations worldwide, Fair Trade has gained recognition among politicians and mainstream businesses. More successes are to be expected, as Fair Trade Organizations develop into stronger players and mainstream companies become more and more attuned to the demand for Fair Trade in the marketplace.
Read on to see how Fair Trade Certification makes a difference in the lives of workers around the globe.
What does Fair Trade Mean?
Fair Trade is a global movement of people standing up for worker’s rights and environmental stability.
Fair Trade Provides:
Earnings stay at a stable rate, despite market prices. Fair Trade standards ensure farmers, workers and producers have enough money to live off of and enough to invest in their work.
Fair Trade empowers people to make a choice to positively impact someone’s lives. Fair Trade also gives workers the right to stand up and speak in their communities and workplaces.
Individual and Community Well-Being
Fair Trade premiums, a sum paid directly to worker’s bank accounts leads to workers investing in themselves and their communities. Clean water, education and health care are often achieved with these funds.
Fair Trade USA empowers over 900,000 workers across 45 different countries to reach better trading terms. Fair Trade USA has also been able to provide over $551 million in financial benefits to producers, uphold 700 social, economic and environmental protections as well as involve 1,250 businesses promoting Fair Trade products and practices.
In 2016, Fair Trade USA consumer awareness grew to 67%, and 89% of consumers said they would like to see more products support social and environmental issues. Are you part of that 89%?
Fairtrade also supports:
· Fighting child Labor
· Supporting workers and their rights
· Climate change adaptation
· Global gender equality
· Fighting poverty
Through Fairtrade America, 1.9 million famers and workers in 75 countries benefit from Fairtrade practices.
What is Fair Trade Coffee?
Fair Trade coffee is grown accordingly to Fair Trade’s rigorous standards, all around the world. Every bag of coffee can be traced back to its origin thanks to the transparency of Fair Trade products. Fair Trade coffee guarantees farmers that they will be paid a minimum price, even if the prices drop, offering farmers a safety net and security.
The next time you are shopping for coffee, check out some of our favorite Fair Trade coffee brands:
· Trader Joe’s Sumatra Blend
· Starbucks Coffee Company
· Seattle’s Best Coffee
· Kirkland Coffee (Costco)
· Kicking Horse Coffee
· Ethical Bean Coffee Company
Coffee is one of the products being majorly affected by climate change, and Fairtrade is there to help. While Fairtrade can’t reduce the effects of climate change, Fairtrade helps farmers protect their ecosystems through the prohibited use of GMO seeds, supporting biodiversity with buffer zones between farms and sensitive areas as well as prohibiting farmers from cutting down forests to make room for farm land.
How does Supporting Fair Trade Effect Consumers?
Supporting Fair Trade only has positive effects on consumers. While Fair Trade options may be a bit more expensive at your local grocery store, consumers of Fair Trade products can be confident that their products were grown/manufactured in an ethical, eco-friendly way, that the workers who grew or made them were paid a living wage/legal wages and that the product is not only enjoyable to the consumer, but benefits communities around the world with extra income and equality.
When supporting Fair Trade, you as a consumer are supporting those around the world who need it the most.
Fair Trade certifications can be found on food and produce items, coffee, chocolate and clothing items.
The most common produce items to be Fair Trade certified are bananas and avocados. The workers growing and harvesting these products are paid fairly for their products. These produce items are also grown without harmful chemicals or pesticides, making them safe for farmers and safe for you to eat and enjoy.
Click the link here to learn how Fairtrade America Certified bananas are grown from farm to ship: http://fairtradeamerica.org/Fairtrade-Products/Bananas-and-Fresh-Produce
Other common Fair Trade items found in the grocery store include flowers, coffee, chocolate, tea, wine and ice cream. The next time you are shopping for ice cream, check out Ben and Jerry’s delicious Fair Trade Certified treats.
Just like other Fair Trade food products, chocolate is guaranteed to provide a living wage to farmers and producers, as well as be free of harmful chemicals and pesticides.
Some of our favorite Fair Trade chocolate brands include:
Five North Chocolate - www.fivenorthchocolate.com
Kirkland Chocolate Bark
Trader Joe’s Chocolate
Read more about the impact Fair Trade chocolate had in 2016 here: https://www.fairtradecertified.org/sites/default/files/filemanager/documents/Annual%20Reports/2016_Cocoa_Impact_Report_Final.pdf
Fast fashion is a serious problem, but Fair Trade fashion aims to put an end to the unethical ways of cheap, low-quality clothing. When you purchase fast fashion, you are supporting low wages, poor working conditions and a polluted environment.
Fair Trade clothing is manufactured by workers who receive living wages/legal wages, Fair Trade premiums and have rights to gender equality, safe working conditions and democracy in the workplace.
Some of our favorite Fair Trade clothing brands are:
· Soul Space USA - https://soulspaceusa.com
· Conscious Step Socks
· Nudie Jeans
· People Tree
· Skunk Funk
What does Fair Trade Mean to Gallant International?
At Gallant International, we focus on three things:
1. Creating beautiful products like Fair Trade canvas tote bags, zipper pouches, muslin bags, aprons and other high quality accessories
2. Using the highest quality of organic cotton materials that protect, not harm our environment
3. Making sure that farmers and workers are paid fair prices and fair wages which is done through third party certifications like Fair Trade USA, Fairtrade International and GOTS
We are able to commit to our mission because of the certifications we hold that allows us to make Fair Trade and Organic bags and accessories. By working with certifiers, we can promise our customers that we are doing exactly what we say we are, and that we don’t greenwash to make an extra dollar. We specialize in Fair Trade bags and accessories such as:
custom canvas tote bags
custom cosmetics bags and
custom muslin bags
Interested in learning more about Fair Trade?
Visit this page to learn more about Gallant International’s involvement with Fair Trade: https://www.gallantintl.com/all-about-fair-trade
Learn more about Fair Trade USA here: https://www.fairtradecertified.org
Learn more about Fairtrade America here: http://fairtradeamerica.org