Six Myths About Fair Trade

Fairtrade is growing by leaps and bounds in the US

By now most folks know the concept and have a decent understanding that it’s better than conventional products, but misconceptions abound. - Kyle Freund, Digital Content Manager, Fairtrade America

Here are six myths about Fairtrade:

1.     Fair Trade Goods are Higher in Price

Majority of Fair Trade goods are priced relatively equal to their non-Fair Trade counterparts. When it comes to Fair Trade goods, the cost is often equal to the quality. When looking for Fair Trade products, it’s important to always remember that it’s not just about the retail price of the product, it’s about what the label does for farmers, workers and companies. 

2.     Fair Trade is a Form of Charity

Fair Trade is not a form of charity. Fair Trade helps to promote long-term change through trade-based relationships. Fair Trade helps to fuel the success of independent organizations and businesses by assisting and supporting them. Many Fairtrade organizations do donate to charity in addition to their Fair Trade certification.

3.     Anyone Can Claim That Their Products Are Fairtrade and Ethical

Not everyone can claim that their products are Fair Trade. Businesses must first meet Fair Trade’s rigorous standards in terms of fair labor, fair wages and more. Only companies who meet these standards in every step of the supply chain and become certified are able to use the Fairtrade logo.

4.     Fair Trade Doesn’t Encourage Farmers to Improve Quality

Many argue that the Fair Trade minimum price does not provide incentive for farmers to increase the quality of their crops. However, higher quality does lead to a higher price, always providing an incentive for farmers to improve. According to Fairtrade’s Monitoring and Impact Report, farmers invest over 30% of their Fair Trade premium in quality or productivity improvements.

5.     Fairtrade Refers Only to Coffee and Chocolate

Fair Trade refers to much more than just coffee and chocolate. Fair Trade products include baskets, clothing, cotton, soap, wine and Gallant’s organic cotton tote bags. Fair Trade items have been sold since 1946.

6.     “We always pay farmers more than the Fair Trade price.”

Don’t take a brand’s word for it when they say this. There is no set “Fair Trade price”, making it unclear what a brand is actually saying when they make this claim. Products with the Fair Trade mark have been checked to make sure that it actually meets the Fairtrade standard. When a product is Fair Trade Certified, you don’t need to guess because it’s been certified and meets all the standards.