Have you ever stopped to think about where the things you buy come from?
From the moment someone grows or makes something until the product reaches you, there is a long and laborious process involving many people.
What is Fair Trade?
As indicated by the State Coordinator of Fair Trade, Fair Trade is defined as: “an alternative and supportive trade system to the conventional one that pursues the development of the towns and the fight against poverty“.
Fair Trade contributes to sustainable development by providing better trading conditions while ensuring the rights of all people involved in the production process. It does this through a market protected by minimum prices that allow producers and workers to live in dignity.
Today, there are more than 2000 producer organizations in the global Fair Trade network located in Africa, Asia and Latin America, bringing together more than 2 million people.
What is the path followed by Fair Trade products?
Most producers are located in the most impoverished areas of Latin America, Africa and Asia. These are population groups that, for economic, socio-political, geographical reasons, lack of experience or resources, do not have access to the market or, if they do, do not obtain a sufficient price.
The articles are manufactured by producer organisations in less-favoured areas. These producer organisations carry out their work according to Fair Trade criteria.
The importing companies buy the items from the producing organisations and make them available to the shops. The price of the products is determined by the producer and the distributor organizations, but always following the principles of Fair Trade.
When shops receive Fair Trade products they sell them directly to the end consumer. All shops that sell these products are obliged to indicate the origin of each product.
Fair Trade products are not only sold in shops that are part of the Fair Trade State Coordination, but can also be found in conventional shops.
Consumers of Fair Trade products opt for a global, ecological and egalitarian model, where not only economic but also social and ecological values are taken into account.
What is a fair price?
In addition to economic criteria, Fair Trade takes into account ethical values covering labour, social and environmental aspects, showing that other trade is possible.
One of the main premises of Fair Trade is the payment of a fair price, that is, one that covers all production costs and allows producers to have a decent life and reserve a margin for social purposes such as school, health or housing, through the so-called social premium.
The principles of Fair Trade
- Creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers. Support for small producers, associations or cooperatives, so that they can become economically self-sufficient.
- Transparency and accountability. Ensures that relevant information is communicated clearly.
- Fair trade practices. No profit maximization over social welfare. It ensures that contracts are respected and provides a 50% prepayment to producers. Long-term relationships with producers to ensure stability and avoid unfair competition. Promotion of traditional and artisanal products.
- Payment of a socially acceptable fair price.
- Absence of child and forced labour. To ensure the education and leisure time that children need.
- Commitment with non-discrimination, gender equity and freedom of association. The organization does not discriminate on the basis of race, social class, nationality, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation or age. The organization has a clear policy and a plan to promote gender equality.
- Ensure good working conditions. To offer a healthy and safe working environment to its workers.
- Capacity development. Improve their management skills, production capacities and access to Fair Trade markets.
- Promotion of fair trade. Dissemination and awareness raising within its capacity, using honest advertising techniques.
- Respect for the environment. Use of raw materials from the manufacturing region, supporting local production, using renewable energy and recycled materials for packaging, in short, trying to have the least possible effect on the environment.
How can I know if a product is Fair Trade?
Fairtrade products are not only sold in specific shops, but can also be found in different supermarkets, and therefore different identification stamps have been created to confirm the origin of the products. The most widely accepted logos identifying Fairtrade products are:
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