Ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is power. More and more people are starting to question where their products come from. Were the workers treated fairly? Were they paid proper wages? How does this purchase effect those involved in the production? Will my purchase make a difference?
Organizations like The Fair Trade Federation, Trans Fair USA, The Fair Trade Resource Network, and The World Fair Trade Organization work to oversee companies, certify products, promote and educate consumers about Fair Trade. The main aims of Fair Trade are to:
- Alleviate poverty.
- Practice anti-slavery and anti-child labor principles.
- Promote sustainability and environmentally-friendly practices.
- Promote a healthy, safe working environment and wages for producers.
- Promote gender equality.
- Preserve native arts through independent artisans, small family businesses, community cooperatives and large-scale fair trade exporters.
- Educate and empower disadvantaged producers by fostering long-term trading relationships that are traceable and transparent.
- Foster community development leading to self-sustainability.
The largest Fair Trade organizations (Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International, World Fair Trade Organization, Network of European Worldshops, European Fair Trade Association) define Fair Trade as:
…a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, which seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair trade organizations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.