WHAT IS FAIR TRADE?
The World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) defines Fair Trade as ‘a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that 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 OR FAIRTRADE?
There is a difference!
Essentially, Fair Trade deals with the production and manufacturing process and so is all about making sure that the WAY products are made adheres to a set of ethical principles. WFTO is the body overseeing the accreditation and regulation of large-scale Fair Trade organisations, measuring them against the 10 principles of Fair Trade.
WFTO describes Fair Trade as “a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks gender equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalised producers and workers—especially in the South.”
While Fair Trade deals with the way that things are made, Fairtrade is concerned with what the things are made out of. In other words, raw materials or ingredients and how they have been farmed, mined or harvested. There is a huge range of ingredients that can be Fairtrade-accredited, such as tea, coffee, sugar, cocoa, bananas, flowers, cotton, wine and even gold.
The organisation in charge of Fairtrade accreditation is Fairtrade International (FLO) and you may have seen their Mark on products such as chocolate bars or cotton t-shirts. For a product to receive the Fairtrade Mark, all the ingredients which can be Fairtrade must be.
The standards set by FLO ensure things like safe working conditions, no child labour and bans on the use of dangerous chemicals. They also guarantee that the farmer receives the Fairtrade Minimum Price—enough to cover the costs of production—and an additional Fairtrade Premium to be invested in their business or in community projects of their choice. This could be anything from buying buses and bicycles to building schools and clinics, but most importantly, it is always the local community who choose which projects to invest the Premium in.
This way, Fairtrade not only benefits the producers receiving better prices directly, but also their families and communities. It is a radically inclusive and community-focused approach to trade that seeks to help as many people as possible, rather than creating competitive and individualistic models of business.