Fair Trade for a Better World

Fair Trade!

What is Fair Trade?



How do consumers know that the products they're buying were produced under "fair" conditions? Since its inception in Europe almost twenty years ago, the fiar-trade system has used a label to certify faireness. In order to receive this third-party certification and bear the fairtrade label, products have to meet a series of criteria. Different fair-trade organizations frame the standards somewhat differently; the following list shows the most commonly used criteria.

  • Guranteed minimum (floor) prices to producers; fair  wages to laborers; social development premium 
  • Advance redit or payment to producers 
  • Democratically run producer cooperatives or work places 
  • Long-term contracts and trading relationships 
  • Environmentally sustainable production practices 
  • Public accountability and financial transparency 
  • Financial and technical assistance to producers 
  • Safe, non-exploitative working conditions 
Buyers are required to pay producers a guaranteed minimum price (the base or floor price), which is intended to cover the costs of production and protect producers against volatile market-price fluctuations. They also pay an additional "social premium" that can be directed to local development nees such as schools, roads, or health centers, and additional premium for certified organic products. However, there are other important criteria: buyers must provide partial payment or credit in advance of the harvest so that farmers are not forced into debt just to make ends meet; products must come from democratically organized cooperatives, associations, or workplaces; financial information must be transparent; producers and buyers are encouraged to enter into long-term contracts or trading relationships that offer greater economic stability to farmers; and environmentally sound production methods should be used. For some crops, like bananas and tea, that are produced on plantations by waged workers as well as by small farmers on their own plots, fair-trade certifiers have developed a second "modality" to certify fairness to laborerers on estates and plantations. These criteria include payment of a living wage, the provision of decent working condition, and the presence of independent unions or worker associations. Coffee was the first commodity to be fairly traded, and it is still the biggest  (Jaffee Brewing Justice).

Fair Trade is more than a label, it is a cultural ethic, a seed that has been planted in international commodity trading. The videos below include information on traditional Fair Trade as well as a few domestic videos; how can the mechanism of Fair Trade be a reality in the United States and throughout the world? Consumer and worker empowerment and conscious consumerism is critical; hemp provides a potential boon for the United States' domestic economy and an opportunity to establish fair labor practices. Fair Trade is a viable and perhaps the viable option for drastically improving the current state of the global biosphere, labor practices, economies and people's lives.


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. . BRINGING IT HOME a new hemp documentary coming Spring 2013 from Bringing It Home Movie on Vimeo.

Ten Thousand Villages:

Fair Trade Artisans, Vendors and Labels:

Minga Fair Trade Imports 

Sambah Naturals

Women's Bean Project

What isn't Fair Trade?


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