Fair trade is more of a social and ecomonic issue. Fair trade ensures that farmers are paid adequately for their work and product in order for them to better provide for their families and communities. As stated by one of the founders, “Fair Trade is about making sure people get their fair share of the pie. The whole concept of Fair Trade goes to the heart of our values and sense of right and wrong. Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting somebody else.” With that said, Ben and Jerry’s does also do its part environmentally. They use milk that is hormone free, they are stepping away from HFC freezers, they use FSC certified paper for their containers, and monitor their waste.
It may have an impact on the environment, but will have more of an impact on the local economy from which the ingredients come. The fair trade stamp is more of an agreement to pay fair wages and ensure health care and unionization opportunities to the workers who cultivate and harvest things like chocolate, tea and coffee. This will be very good for the local farmers and harvesters, and may trickle down into the farming practices, so they can have a little more capital to do that with the environment in mind. However, to be fair trade certified it looks like there is no requirement to be eco-friendly.
For more on fair trade certification requirements see this web page.
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