The idea of fair trade is rooted in equality that really aims to create the best possible conditions for producers, consumers, and the environment. For products that are to be deemed fair trade, a base price is set by the international Fair Trade Labeling Organization which covers basic things like cost of production for the item and wages for workers that are high enough to support food, shelter, clothing, education, and medical care. Retailers who wish to sell fair trade products are screened and then certified by TransFair USA to make sure that they are paying and charging the proper prices.
Producers look to shorten the supply chain as much as possible, eliminating unnecessary in-betweens that only jack up the prices of the product. They also work to strengthen their relationships with farmers so that ties are stronger in the long run, creating lasting bonds meant to survive the global marketplace.
In regards to workers’ rights, they are guaranteed safe and appropriate working conditions. Special attention is paid to women’s right and leadership initiatives and human rights and child labor laws are also carefully reviewed and administered.
Products that are labeled as fair trade have either been certified as fair trade according to standards set by an organization such as Fair Trade International, or are members of the World Fair Trade Organization, membership to which requires meeting a set of fairtrade-related standards. These standards include fair wages, acknowledgment of human rights, meeting basic safety requirements, etc. Fair trade organizations specifically focus their efforts on impoverished regions, which are at a greater risk for exploitation, and also promote environmental awareness. Products certified as fair trade must meet these standards at every level of the production process.
In focusing on farmers in impoverished or developing areas, fair trade organizations like Fair Trade USA work to help people in these areas to support themselves in a way which benefits their community as well. There seems to be a big focus on the individual as a part of the community and the idea that helping smaller farms get the tools they need will enable them to grow and support themselves. Fair Trade organizations also educate consumers so that we learn to shop responsibly and with the realization that how we shop impacts production. So really it strengthens responsibility of and empowers people on both ends of the economic spectrum.
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