As a conscious consumer, you know how important it is to make mindful purchases both in the store and on the web. Whether it is handicrafts, chocolate, coffee, tea, or any other specialty/everyday item, opting for those with the Fairtrade logo is one of the most powerful choices you can make as a consumer. When you choose Fairtrade, you put your money where your heart is, and directly vote for a future where all humans are paid living wages and treated with dignity and respect. There are endless reasons to choose Fairtrade — we’ve highlighted five of the major ones.
What is Fairtrade?
Fairtrade is an international movement that advocates for better working and trading conditions for workers and farmers. It sets strict social, economic and environmental standards that organizations, brands and products must continuously adhere to to maintain certification. The standards ensure equitable wages, humane working conditions, no child labor, gender equality, reduced carbon footprint and more. Companies are independently audited by FLOCERT, the world’s leading Fairtrade certifier.
5 Reasons to Choose Fairtrade
Shop with your conscience by choosing Fairtrade. Though the majority of products on the shelves are not produced by a strict set of ethical standards, the blue and green Fairtrade logo makes it easy to identify the products that are. Nearly two million farmers represented by nearly 2,000 companies in more than 70 countries are Fairtrade certified. Those numbers are growing every day thanks to people like you choosing ethical products again and again. Here are the top reasons to choose Fairtrade:
1. Ensure Living Wages
Despite farming being the largest means of employment in the world, many farmers and agricultural workers do not earn enough to afford a decent standard of living. In many cases, farmers are unable to provide themselves and their families basic necessities like clean water, housing, education, healthcare and more.
Fairtade makes certain that all workers and farmers earn a living wage that covers basic needs plus additional funds needed for transport and unforeseen circumstances that inevitably arise in life. It also gives farmers the liberty to negotiate their wages to meet the demands of daily life.
2. End Child Labor
Across the globe at least 152 million children are working; 70 percent of them in agriculture. Not only does child labor interfere with a child’s ability to receive an education, get proper rest and nutrition, and simply “be a kid;” conditions are often hazardous and exploitive. In some cases, children are abducted from their homes and forced to work for little to no pay.
Fairtrade strictly prohibits child labor. Children under the age of 15 cannot be employed by a Fairtrade certified organization, while children below 18 cannot take jobs that will prevent them from going to school. In addition to regular auditing, Fairtrade establishes community-based monitoring and works with governments and child rights experts to help end child labor.
3. Support Small Family-Owned Farms
Farmers who own their land are met with different obstacles than farmers who work on someone else’s land. Small-scale farmers have to cover all of the expenses of the farm before they can provide basic needs for themselves and their family. If it’s a bad crop season, they run the risk of no earnings at all. Even a good season does not mean they are being paid a living income, which means they are unable to invest the resources needed into their farm and may become trapped in a cycle of poverty.
With Fairtrade, farmers are paid a premium market price for their crop yield and provided support so that they can achieve sustainable and profitable yields. The organization also helps improve farm efficiency and productivity. Fairtrade has also defined a Living Income Reference Price, which ensures that smallholder farmers earn a living income that meets their needs both on the farm and at home.
4. Environmental Protection
Farming is one of the main drivers of deforestation, which not only destroys ecosystems of plants and animals, but may cause water and food insecurity for humans. Conventional farming practices often degrade and erode the soil, cause desertification, and pollute the earth with excessive use of toxic pesticides.
Fairtrade works diligently to reintroduce crop diversity and instill sustainable farming practices that protect the land. As per their website, “To sell Fairtrade products, farmers have to improve soil and water quality, manage pests, avoid using harmful chemicals, manage waste, [and] reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.” They also train farmers to avoid monocultures and grow plants in coexistence with local flora and fauna to protect biodiversity.
5. End Modern Day Slavery
As crushing as this reality is, slavery is still active around the globe. Sadly, 40.3 million people worldwide are stuck in modern slavery. This number includes both forced labor and forced marriage. Approximately 24.9 million are forced labor, with most working in agriculture or construction. Poverty is a primary driving force behind forced labor, matched with lack of labor, lack of decent employment and discrimination. Unfortunately, many mainstream brands turn a blind eye to this harsh reality.
Fairtrade has absolutely no tolerance for exploitation, forced labor, or any form of modern day slavery. The organization takes every avenue to build awareness of trafficking patterns, know areas of risk, and put strict preventative measures to end this often highly concealed human rights violation. They train farmers and workers on human rights topics, and have community-based monitoring as well as remediation system to end modern day slavery.
On the web and in the store, look for the blue and green Fairtrade logo where possible! While it may be difficult to find every item with this designation, every single Fairtrade purchase you make helps pave the way for a more compassionate, sustainable future.