For My Dad: What is Fair Trade?

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" I like your website...but I don't buy purses.

 Can you just explain what fair trade is?"

-My Dad

1. Fair Trade is an organized social movement the offers fair...well... trade agreements and pay to farmers who produce certain products. There is "Fairtrade" International and "Fair Trade" USA...they are different organizations but for the sake of us shoppers it doesn't really matter. On top of paying a fair price, fair trade also puts money back into communities to help producers create sustainable businesses and meet community needs such as access to schools and safe drinking water. Additionally fair trade producers need to meet labor standards such as not using children and protecting the rights of women from workplace violence.

2. Not everything made ethically has Fairtrade certification and as a whole, this type of certification applies to food. You can also look for products that say they are "direct trade" as well as they will hold to similar standards. The words "sustainable" "organic" "eco-friendly" do not necessarily mean that the items were sourced or produced in a way that honors people so don't be fooled by them! My classic example is H&M who has an "eco-friendly" clothing line but also carries a crazy long list of labor violations. Products that are kind to the planet but not to the people who live on the planet are totally missing the mark.

3. There are thousands of fair trade products! If they have some type of Fairtrade certification they will be marked as such with a logo similar to the ones shown above. Coffee, chocolate, tea, quinoa and soap are easy to find but you can also find fair trade certified produce, snack foods and hygiene items as well! Once you know what you're looking for you'll see it popping up all over the place. We've found fair trade food at Costco and fair trade tea in the movie theatre!

4. It costs more because it should! Years of purchasing products made cheaply because they use unfair labor have really messed up our view of how much things should cost. However, you can still find fair trade products on sale so stock up when you can.

5. It's the little things that make a big difference. The more we shop for fair trade, the more products we can expect to see available for purchase in our stores. If your store doesn't carry Fairtrade products, ask for them!

Check out the  super easy to understand answer to "What is Fair Trade?" on the Fairtrade International website. 

I love you dad!