BEFORE YOU HAVE FINISHED YOUR BREAKFAST IN THE MORNING, YOU HAVE DEPENDED ON MORE THAN HALF THE WORLD.Martin Luther King Jnr, Christmas sermon 1967
Many people nowadays have become conscious about wanting to make more ethical purchases. In 2013, the Rana Plaza factory disaster in Bangladesh highlighted the terrible conditions that millions of workers endure to bring us cheap clothing.It shouldn’t have taken this tragedy, and many similar ones, to bring home to us the plight of the many people we rely on every day.
What is meant by fair trade?
The SIMPLE answer is, the farmers who grow our food, the workers who make our clothes and crafts etc are paid a fair rate for their work and are treated with respect, enabling them to provide a decent life for themselves and their families.There is no slave labour or child labour. However, it’s more complex than this.
This confusion can be because of the many ways fair trade or fairly traded is described.
This is one of the most recognised marks and belongs to umbrella organisation Fairtrade International, in the UK it is the Fairtrade Foundation. It is used as a certification and labelling system for items that have passed a strict criteria. Fairtrade has paved the way for sustainable trading by providing a safety net for world’s poorest farmers against volatile market prices, and the Fairtrade Premium to invest in vital community, business and environmental projects. The registered word Fairtrade with a capital F should only be used when referring to this.Most products bearing the Mark are food (eg bananas, honey, and chocolate) and drink (eg tea, coffee and wine), but there are also Fairtrade sports balls, Fairtrade cotton, Fairtrade cut flowers, Fairtrade beauty and cleaning products and Fairtrade gold, platinum and silver.
So, what about ‘fair trade‘, ‘fairtrade‘, ‘Fair trade‘ and ‘FairTrade‘?
Any business could use the terms to imply that they are trading fairly, but this may not always be the case.
The monitoring of Fair Trade businesses which market goods not carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark is done through such bodies as the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO). Shops selling these goods in UK usually belong to British Association of Fair Trade Shops (BAFTS). If a business signs up to the Ten Principles of Fair Trade then it can be said to be Fair Trade.
Haworth was awarded Fairtrade village status in November 2002. This followed 6 months of campaigning to achieve the 5 criteria for certification set out by the Fairtrade Foundation
“With Fairtrade you have the power to change the world every day. With simple shopping choices you can get farmers a better deal. And that means they can make their own decisions, control their future and lead the dignified life everyone deserves.” – Fairtrade Foundation website
10 Principles of Fair Trade
World Fair Trade Organization prescribes 10 Principles that Fair Trade Organizations must follow in their day-to-day work and carries out monitoring to ensure these principles are upheld.
Principle 1: Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers
Poverty reduction by making producers economically independent.
Principle 2: Transparency and Accountability
Involving producers in important decision making.
Principle 3: Fair Trading Practices
Trading fairly with concern for the social, economic and environmental well-being of producers.
Principle 4: Payment of a Fair Price
Paying producers a fixed price by mutual agreement, ensuring socially acceptable wages depending on the location.
Principle 5: Ensuring no Child Labor and Forced Labor
Adhering to the United Nations (UN) Convention on children’s rights.
Principle 6: Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Women’s Economic Empowerment and Freedom of Association
Respecting the trade union rights and rejecting discrimination based on gender, religion or ethnicity.
Principle 7: Ensuring Good Working Conditions
Providing a safe and healthy working environment for producers and wrokers in line with the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions.
Principle 8: Providing Capacity Building
Seeking to develop the skills of producers and workers so they can continue to grow and prosper.
Principle 9: Promoting Fair Trade
Raising awareness for the need of greater justice in world trade by trading fairly with poor communities.
Principle 10: Respect for the Environment
Caring for the environment by maximising use of sustainable energy and raw materials while minimising waste and pollution.
Credit : WFTO Europe