Balance of trade is an on-going practice and concern for all the major product and service producing countries throughout the world. To be sure to protect those who bring so much from their country to the rest of the planet’s consumers, Fair Trade was officially introduced in 1986. As a social movement, it is designed to erect and maintain fair trade practices that guard the producers and consumers through every step of getting a product to market.
To be Fair Trade Certified gives the small goods, manufactures and produce growers protection from being overrun by huge conglomerates. It assures independent, small farmers and their workers, sale of their products at a fair price with just profit distribution. It promotes organic, environmentally sound growing practices. Fair Trade assures local workers, employee benefits that reach into the educational systems and other sustainable projects that support communities.
At the time of this writing, farm workers in over 70 developing nations across Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Oceania are distributing close to 12,000 products throughout North America. You will see the black and green Fair Trade Certified label on the outside packaging. Knowing a product is Fair Trade Certified offers the consumer more choice as to how they want to see their money distributed throughout the world. It sets up a relationship between producers and consumers that creates appreciation and buyer loyalty. Buying a chocolate bar with the Fair Trade label on the packaging means that the money spent will be equitably parceled out, making sure a fair portion goes back to the developing country. This approach is far more efficient than traditional charity and aid. It is within human nature to be proud to produce value, and to be monetarily rewarded for our contribution. Hand-outs while perhaps appreciated for what they are, cannot replace getting something in return for giving something.
Engaging in international trading partnerships opens up a dialogue for mutual respect and more transparency in practices. With these aspects in place, development of equal distribution and wealth between nations has a better chance of growing and establishing that balance mentioned earlier. Fair prices are levied allowing for fair wages to be earned.
There is still a lot of work to be done to educate the small farmers around the world of the advantages of being Fair Trade certified. A good example of this is the coffee growers in Peru. Some are making a mere $2 US a day while growing and selling one of the most lucrative commodities sold around the globe. If they implemented Fair Trade practices they could be earning more for their families and benefiting their communities overall.
There are a number of Fair Trade labeling organizations, but generally all are regulated by FINE. The four watchdog operations that are actively engaged in maintaining international fair practices are:
Fairtrade Labeling Organizations
International, World Fair Trade Organization
Network of European Workshops
European Fair Trade Association
While supporting producers and consumers alike, and raising awareness on international trade practices, the Fair Trade movement is growing and serving a global family. A constant vigilance must be maintained to assure the small producers are given their deserved rewards.
What do you think of the Fair Trade practices? Are you aware of the products you purchase that are certified Fair Trade? Are you familiar with why Fair Trade is so important? Leave a comment below and ring in on this subject, we would love to hear from you.