What is Fairtrade? Introduction Series Part 1

What is Fairtrade? Introduction Series

Within this blog, we will explore one of the more popular green labels that you see on certain food. We will look at the Fairtrade logo. We will explain what it is, show you what it measures in the 2nd blog of this series and finally in the 3rd explain why it is important. In following blogs and on the Instagram page we will show you top Fairtrade products you can support and purchase to make a difference and finally show you some great ideas on what you can do with these products.  Next time you buy a product with this logo on, you will know exactly what you are supporting.

Essentially Fair Trade is a strategy to reduce poverty, promote sustainable farming and help farmers within developing countries who are marginalised by conventional trading systems. Key aspects within the strategy involve, payment of a premium to producers, as well as respect for the right to freedom of association, collective bargaining, and non-discrimination. It promotes improved environmental standards on farms and estates and investment in local development such as education.

Recent data shows that Fair Trade is increasing in popularity (7% Growth in 2017) as consumers become ever more conscious of their impacts on the planet. The rise of conscious consumers is encouraging with a recent survey from Kantar Worldpanel showing that in the UK, 93% of adults recognise the Fairtrade logo.

Fair Trade standards contain minimum requirements that all producer organisations (farms/factories) must meet to become certified as well as progress requirements in which producers must demonstrate improvements over time.

One of the key aspects and that what sets Fairtrade apart from other sustainability / ethical labels that we will explore in other blogs is that it puts living wages at the centre of its model. Fairtrade sets a minimum floor price as well as a Fairtrade premium. Essentially the minimum floor price is the minimum that must be paid by the buyer for e.g. a tonne of cocoa or a tonne of coffee. The Fairtrade premium is an additional sum of money which must go into a communal fund for workers and farmers to use, as they see fit, to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions. This floor price and premium provide a crucial safety net when world prices drop and that they give farmers stability to make long-term investments in their farms. These aspects are non-negotiable, for a farm to be certified Fairtrade these improvements must be agreed to with a plan on how these premiums will be spent to improve the community.

Therefore, next time you see a product with the Fairtrade logo on you will know that a minimum price was paid to acquire the raw material in your product (allowing the farmers a safety net when commodity prices are low). You will also know that the Fairtrade premium must be spent on good causes in the local community where the raw material came from. Whether this is for the environment or social aspects, however, is up to the community in the area where the raw material came from to decide. What you may not know is that by buying Fairtrade you are helping support female rights, non-discrimination in the workplace, helping minority groups as well as all the environmental and other social factors that will be explained in the next blog.

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