Everything we purchase matters. In fact, every dollar we spend directly impacts people’s lives around the world. Learn more about Fair Trade and how your purchases can do the most good.
What is fair trade?
Fair trade is a global movement. At its heart, it is designed to improve the lives of individual farmers and workers in developing countries. Fair Trade puts people and the environment first. According to the organization Fair Trade Certified, “Fair trade is made up of a diverse network of producers, companies, consumers, advocates, and organizations putting people and planet first.” When we purchase Fair Trade goods, in essence, we are choosing a world-changing way of doing business.
How does fair trade work?
Fair Trade works by:
- Empowering farmers in developing countries to form cooperatives and make decisions – like setting price minimums
- Creating a Fair Trade premium, which the cooperative can invest back into the community in the way that they choose
✅ They might build a new hospital or new wells.
✅ They could invest in new organic farming practices.
- Establishing social protections to improve working conditions, ban forced labor and child labor and end discrimination
How did Fair Trade begin?
Fair Trade began in the United States, when a Pennsylvania woman named Mrs. Edna Ruth Byler traveled to Puerto Rico. She saw the women of the La Plata Valley struggling to feed their children. Though she was unsure how, she decided to sell some of their beautiful embroidery back home to help them. Her simple idea launched the shop Ten Thousand Villages and sparked the Fair Trade Movement.
Learn more about Ten Thousand Villages’ humble beginnings and Edna Ruth Byler’s mission to bring dignity and economic independence to women around the world.
Why should we care about Fair Trade?
Current global trading practices put profits before people and the environment. By purchasing Fair Trade products, you can live out your values and improve the lives of working individuals. Without Fair trade, trade simply isn’t fair. Take a look at some of the impact of Fair Trade:
- Fair Trade gives people a decent standard of living – Many workers in developing countries make less than $2 a day, according to the World Bank. This translates to 736 million people living in poverty.
- Fair Trade advances workers’ rights – Through certified Fair Trade organizations, workers establish labor standards so they can be paid and treated fairly.
- Fair Trade combats child labor – 152 million children are in child labor, and 70% of those work in agriculture. Fair Trade targets areas where child labor is prevalent to free children from this grim practice.
- Fair Trade promotes gender equality – 60-80% of the world’s food is grown by women, but they do not profit fairly from their work. Fair Trade works to diminish discriminatory practices with their comprehensive gender strategy.
- Fair Trade farmers are facing climate change – Farmers in developing countries are some of the most affected by climate change, especially in the Global South. This leads to loss of income, job scarcity and increased production costs.
If protecting your fellow global citizens and building sustainable farming practices for the environment are important to you, you can shop for Fair Trade certified products at Gone to Green Market. For more Fair Trade shopping resources, click here.