What is Fair Trade?
Fair trade is a unique way at looking at trading systems. Fair trade invests in the producers of products and their communities by creating mutually beneficial relationships between the producers and the consumers. It ensures that producers are paid fair wages that account for several factors, including the cost of production and adequate living standards. Additionally, a portion of the profit from each product is invested back into producers’ communities for development programs, such as those that enhance health and education infrastructure.
Producers must meet stringent criteria in order to meet fair trade standards. They must responsibly and sustainably use pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Producers must also practice sustainable farming methods to reduce soil degradation, loss of biodiversity, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Furthermore, producers must not discriminate based on “race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin, which has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation” as outlined in ILO Convention 111 on Discrimination when hiring labour. Additionally, fair trade producers must not engage in forced or child labour.
Community and producer organizations are formed within fair trade communities to work on environmentally sustainable social and economic development. Both producers and the surrounding communities receive the benefits of these endeavours. These organizations must be formed on the principles of transparency and democracy, giving everyone involved an informed and equitable vote.