Cost of taking action: £/$/€ SMALL
Ethics, the sustainability of communities, and protecting our environment go hand in hand
This action encourages us to think about the ethics behind the things we buy; there are a number of international organisations which facilitate this through the branding and certification of fair trade products, such as Traidcraft and FairTrade (click these links to learn more).
What are fair trade products
These are items that have been produced and marketed with environmental and community interests at heart.
Fair trade, defined simply, is when producers in developing countries are paid a fair price for their work, by companies in developed countries. The price we pay for products gives enough to producers for them to afford life’s essentials – the food, education and healthcare that we take for granted in developed nations.
Fair trade is based on partnership, which means that the interests of farmers and workers are just as important as other commercial considerations up through the supply chain. It also represents a solution to poverty and a model for development.
Many products are produced under the FairTrade label – over 6,000 of them – including bananas, chocolate, coffee, clothes, flowers, drinks and juices, tea, snacks, grains, sugars, spreads, cooking oils, beauty products, herbs, spices and even wine.
The key Principles of Fair Trade are that practices are fair, prices paid are fair, payments are prompt or often made in advance, producers and workers have a voice, working conditions are safe, there is non-discrimination and there is care for the welfare of children.
Why is this important?
Buying fairly is important because it reduces the exploitation of people in developing countries, their communities and lands. It reduces poverty too.
Reducing exploitation and poverty brings environmental benefits; local farmers and communities become sustainable and these benefits move up the supply chain.
By being conscious consumers we can bring pressure to bear on our supermarkets and others to avoid exploitative practices in thier supply chains, we should never underestimate the power of consumer demand in this way.
What you can do
- Look out for the Fair Trade label on products you buy. Sometimes, there will be a small increase in price above your usual brand, but those differences are genuinely very small in the context of your overall shopping bill and you will benefit from knowing that you are supporting rather than exploiting the producers.
- Take a few minutes to click through and learn more about Fair Trade, using the links to Traidcraft and FairTrade web pages. If you are not already familiar with the concept of fair trade, you may be surprised by the size and scale of the movement, and the impact it has had over recent years.
- Share this article on your social media accounts and tell your family, friends and colleagues about it, for example by asking your workplace to provide fair trade tea and coffee in the canteen or kitchen.