It’s official, Fall is here and that means we are edging the end of the year. Before you know it, kids will be trick or treating, turkey will be cooking, potatoes will be mashed and gifts will be exchanged. But before that, there’s some fair trading to be doing… did you know that October is fair trade month in the US of A?
Why should you love fair trade then?
1. First and foremost Fair Trade means no child labor. 166 million children in the world are right now involved in child labor and let’s face it any number above 0 is scandalous. Thanks to Fair Trade, you can safely avoid buying products you might not be aware of support child labor. Example: cotton! Much of the cotton in the world is grown and picked in Uzbekistan and child labor is not only allowed but required for children during the picking season.
2. Fair Trade also means fair pay and good working conditions for farmers and producers of all kinds. Fair Trade certified products are made in safe and healthy working conditions, where farmers and producers receive a fair price for their work and given a voice in how their workplace is run. Fair Trade is truly about empowering the workers and their local community to help create a thriving environment for everybody.
3. Fair Trade is also way better for the environment. Fair Trade supports sustainable practices that minimize the environmental footprint of the production or agricultural facilities. Most Fair Trade products source their raw materials locally thus minimizing transportation and environmental costs. Also, lots of fair trade products are made from recycled or up-cycled materials, helping even more minimizing the overall carbon footprint of those businesses. Things like tires, textiles, leather, glass and paper that would otherwise be trash get repurposed and given new life as amazingly imaginative products with a personal story.
4. Fair Trade almost always means high quality goods. You know why? Because Fair Trade artisans and farmers take pride in the quality of their work and products and because of the high quality standards that come with having a Fair Trade certified product. Have you ever tasted a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and thought they could have done better on the quality of ingredients? I think not. Oh, yeah… just in case you did not know, B&J now sources all of their products from Fair Trade suppliers. As if you needed one more reason to love this company?
5. Fair Trade means better tasting food. Contrary to the belief that more is better, it appears that better is better and Fair Trade farmers and other producers grow and harvest in smaller quantities and do spray their crops with pesticides and other chemicals unless strictly necessary. As a result, Fair Trade food is fresher and tastier. As such, many food companies that buy fair trade ingredients actually also qualify as buying organic and GMO-free ingredients. And what’s even more, while fair trade products are better for your health, they are also better for the people growing them as they don’t have to deal with pesticides and chemicals as well as working in safe conditions and receive access to healthcare. A non-negligible side effect of not using pesticides and other chemicals on the lands is that it preserves soil fertility and valuable local ecosystems.
6. Fair Trade cuts the middle man. One of the most important reasons why farmers do not get the money they deserve for the products they grow and make are local, regional, national and then international middle men and movers that take a cut at each stage of what could (and should) go to the farmers. By cutting the middle men and dealing with just 1 or 2 partners Fair Trade farmers are getting paid a fair price for what they have worked so hard. This way, their business thrives and they can offer better standards of living to their families.
... to be continued in Part 2...