33 Reasons Why is Fair Trade is Unique
Why Fair Trade is unique is usually questioned by those who are thinking about their purchases and the impact they make. Being a conscious consumer is an agent of change who considers the social, environmental, ecological, and political impact of their buying and boycotting actions. ‘Conscious consumerism', 'conscious lifestyle', and 'conscious living' are relatively new phrases referencing almost any ethical and sustainability-related way of life. For us to be conscious consumers it’s beneficial that we understand the term ‘Fair Trade’ and how it makes products different.
What is Fair Trade?
As defined by the World Fair Trade Organization:
‘Fair Trade is a trading partnership based on dialogue, transparency, and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers.’
The Fair Trade movement is based on the belief that the producers in developing countries deserve better, and fair, trading conditions, knowing that it is the best way to promote sustainable development in that country. The payment of higher prices to the producers while providing a global marketplace has a longer and stronger impact than charitable donations or aid.
So, to define Fair Trade in a nutshell, it’s a social movement whose main objective is to ensure more ethical trading conditions in developing countries. This is done by helping them sell their products at fair prices.
In most developing countries, farmers and artisans (creators of products) are exploited and forced to sell their goods and artifacts for a miserable amount of money. Thanks to the Fair Trade movement, these rural workers are able to sell their products at reasonable prices. This gives them the opportunity to expand their business, upscale their lifestyles, and improve the living conditions within their communities.
Why is Fair Trade Unique?
Now that we’ve answered the question, “What does Fair Trade mean?” we can see the difference between this ideology and the ethics on which common businesses are run. To be a truly conscious consumer, we must understand that the products we buy have a huge impact on the livelihoods of others. By choosing Fair Trade, we are actually making a conscious choice for a better world.
If you’re still wondering how this market/movement is unique, here are a few reasons why.
1. Fair Pricing
Fair Trade empowers producers to set prices within a framework that accounts for the real cost of labor, time, sustainable production, and materials used. Members of Fair Trade organizations ensure prompt payment to all their partners and equitable distribution of income among men and women in rural artisan communities.
2. Empowering Working Conditions
Forced labor is prohibited and members of Fair Trade cultivate workplaces to empower people and remove all discriminations based on sex, caste, race, religion, age, marital status, and all other social biases.
Fair Trade organizations also ensure that physical, sexual, psychological, and verbal harassment is prohibited at these workplaces.
3. Ensures Community Development
For every Fair Trade verified product sold, the people involved in making the product are given an additional income that goes into their 'Community Development Fund.' This money is used collectively by the community to meet their social and economic needs.
4. Education is Encouraged
In addition to ensuring that parents have household incomes that enable them to send their children to school when they previously may have not, some of the Fair Trade organizations have even set up unique education programs of their own.
5. Safe Working Conditions
All Fair Trade workers must be provided with safe and productive working conditions. The rights of a healthy work environment, to decrease job place injury, are rights of all workers. No sweatshops or unsafe working conditions are permitted.
6. Variety of Products
Fair Trade organizations give consumers the opportunity to purchase unique ethical foods, goods, and handmade products from around the world.
7. Respects Cultural Identity
By purchasing unique gifts, like handmade yoga bags or mandala throws, consumers can get a taste of the cultural heritage and a genuine feel for the places in which these products are made. Fair Trade organizations celebrate cultural diversity and support the development of products and practices that involve indigenous traditions and techniques.
8. Preserves Traditional Methods
By promoting indigenous practices, Fair Trade helps to sustain cultures and revitalize generations of traditions. These methods are in danger of dying out and the Fair Trade movement keeps them alive by balancing consumer desires with the producers’ traditional and cultural crafts.
9. Better Quality
Not surprisingly, Fair Trade products tend to be of much higher quality as the artisans working on them take pride in the work they do. Products are handmade and crafted only by artisans who are extremely adept at their work. This allows for closer attention to detail and superior products.
10. Environmental Conservancy
Fair Trade farms and manufacturers seek to meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations. The effect on the environment and the use of resources are considered in order to protect and secure long-term sustainable production. Environmentally sustainable practices throughout the entire chain of trade are maintained.
11. No GMO's
Fair Trade standards strictly prohibit the use of genetically modified organisms and no GMO crops are allowed to be Fair Trade certified, providing you with tastier and healthier food.
12. Preserving Natural Resources
Fair Trade members reduce, reuse, reclaim, and recycle materials wherever possible, and so Fair Trade practices tend to have a much lower impact on the environment. Fair Trade workers are invested in the community in which they live in and are focused on the preservation of natural resources as part of their long-term solutions.
13. Opportunity for Growth
By providing new and often otherwise unattainable fair-paying jobs, people, families, and communities are given a great opportunity for growth. With higher income, new skills, and support systems, whole communities are positivity improving their lives. Fair Trade workers are even being provided the means to start their own businesses.
14. Stronger Relationships
Fair Trade gives farmers and artisans have respectful, fair, and consistent partnerships with their buyers. Communication is open, proactive and honest, allowing consumers to purchase from organizations they trust while giving producers the chance to improve their businesses.
15. Producers are Partners
By allowing direct input between producers and buyers, Fair Trade elevates the status from simple workers and manufactures in their business to joint partners in the whole operation. This open line of communication allows for joint solutions to problems and satisfaction across all levels of the organization.
16. Upcycling of Products
In some Fair Trade organization upcycling is the basis for their whole business. One example is unique Fair Trade purses, wallets, and bags that are often made using plastic, cloth, and other discarded material. These upcycled products not only promote ecological wellbeing but also help to clean up the environment.
17. Promotes Equality
Fair Trade aims to eliminate biases on the basis of sex, caste, religion, and economic background by giving people from all walks of life a neutral platform from which they can sell their products.
18. Tangible Solution
In an era where poverty, climate change, and other economic crisis have become major issues with no clear solution, Fair Trade provides one viable solution and a tangible method of overcoming these problems.
19. International support
The Fair Trade movement is gaining awareness and support internationally as more and more people realize the importance of where their foods and products come from how trade can be more ethical and sustainable.
20. Raises Awareness
Fair Trade members actively demonstrate and communicate how trade can be a positive force for improving standards in health, education, distribution of power, and the environment. This raises awareness about how Fair Trade promotes a more ethical global economic system.
21. Educates Consumers
Fair Trade allows conscious consumers to choose products that are in line with their core values and beliefs. In principle, of course, consumers wish to make the most ethical and environmentally-viable purchases. However, in practice, it’s difficult to do so. Fair Trade gives consumers a clear picture of which products are beneficial to help developing countries, the environment, and the world at large.
22. Authentic Products
As Fair Trade products are handcrafted by the artisans and not mass produced in automated factories. For the consumer purchasing original authentic items, it can give your home a far more authentic and unique look and feel, as all the materials used are handmade, locally-sourced, and contains the trademark design of hundreds of years of tradition.
23. Uplifts Status of Women
In many parts of the world, like India, Bangladesh, and Africa, Fair Trade helps to uplift the status of women who are otherwise deemed inferior in these societies. Women are provided equal pay and opportunities as any of their male counterparts, which is often not traditionally the case in these developing regions. Fair Trade products made by artisan women provide equal opportunity to sell their own products, build their own business, and be providers for their household.
24. Visibility of Business Process
Fair Trade helps to unveil supply chains and gives consumers a clear understanding of where their products originate and how they finally reach them. It encourages customers and producers to ask questions about conventional and alternative supply chains to make informed choices. This improves visibility and credibility for businesses allowing people to shop more ethically.
25. Security for Workers
As mentioned earlier, Fair Trade products are paid so that the cost of production is included in the product. Along with this, there is a 'Fair Trade Minimum Price' on all products. This ensures that farmers and artisans income is consistent even when global commodity prices drop.
26. Uplifts Poverty
Fair Trade organizations create a plethora of economic opportunities for rural artisan communities. Fair Trade principles allow producers to improve their skills and business practices, generating even more business opportunities, and allowing them to hire more workers. Overall creating social stability and uplifting whole communities from poverty.
27. Helps Producers Become Global
With the help of financial and technical assistance from Fair Trade organizations, producers can build their capacity and reach out to a larger number of consumers in the global marketplace. With the help of Fair Trade, workers are able to market their goods to a wider variety of consumers on the global market.
28. Children’s Rights Are Ensured
Exploitative child labor is strictly prohibited by Fair Trade members and all involvement of children in the production process is disclosed. Fair Trade believes that children have the right to education, security, and play and help communities grant these basic rights to their children.
29. Environmental Responsibility
Fair Trade holds firm that during production the environment must also be clean and healthy. Rigorous environmental standards encourage farmers to better protect their delicate ecosystems and reduce the use of harmful chemicals in all stages of production.
30. Growing Movement
Fair Tade is gaining movement and there are over 1000 Fair Trade towns all over the world. Cities like London, Rome, and San Francisco prioritize Fair Trade purchasing in municipal corporations and schools and encourage supermarkets to sell Fair Trade products.
31. Widely Recognized
According to a recent global study, nearly 6 out of 10 consumers recognize the ‘Fair Trade Certified’ label on products. It’s the most recognized ethical label in the world and consumers understand that they are contributing to a better world by purchasing these products.
32. It’s Conscious Consumerism
The Fair Trade definition does not confine itself to a certain industry; it’s an all-around social justice cause for more ethical consumerism. It is a movement towards global consciousness that is far stronger than any single industry.
33. Proof of Better Trade Conditions
Fair Trade examples like Global Groove and Tonga Textiles stand as proof of the fact that greater justice in world trade is becoming a reality. These organizations promote the name of Fair Trade and help consumers to ask questions about alternative supply chains and where their goods come from, helping consumers make informed decisions about their purchases. Most of all, Fair Trade stands as a positive force to show that honest trade can help improve living standards, health, education, and the environment as a whole.
These are the unique reasons why Fair Trade is a movement that’s gaining popularity across the globe. To be a truly conscious consumer means to take into account the repercussions of every purchase you make. So, try switching to Fair Trade verified products and contribute to a better world.