Coming from the USA, a highly developed country, I couldn’t believe that very few people knew about Fair Trade. I see it so much in the US that I would’ve thought it to be very well known worldwide, and it wasn’t until I stepped out of my little bubble that I realized not even a lot of people within the United States know about Fair Trade, it’s true meaning and purpose at least. I came to India to offer my help as a volunteer, and found this amazing opportunity working with a women NGO, particularly for women in the southern region of India, Karnataka. I am helping this NGO with their marketing and social media as well as some website development and this is when I was shocked to find out that roughly 1% of the population in India know about fair trade. It made me wonder how many people in the world actually know about Fair Trade and I am not talking about seeing or hearing about it, how many people actually understand the purpose and standards of this partnership. So I wanted to briefly write about it and get some basic info out there for those of you who haven’t researched it enough.
Fair Trade and FAIRTRADE are two separate things and I will explain shortly. Fair trade is a way to try and fight the injustices that exist in the world , a way to allow everyone to have a sustainable, decent living. It is a global partnership created between developed and developing countries to provide developing countries reasonable trading conditions that will allow for them to sustain a better lifestyle.
Millions of people throughout the world do not earn enough money to live on, with 20% of the world’s population still living on less than $1 a day. Unfair world trade rules mean that in some parts of the world, even those who work for twelve or more hours a day still can’t afford the basics they need, let alone education and health care. (Via www.fairtrade.net)
Fairtrade is an agreement between producers and consumers, a way to standardize terms of trade and allow for producers to get the true value of their work compensated; seeking equity in international trade. It gives us, consumers, the opportunity to reduce poverty one product at a time. Hopefully it will come a day when all products will be fairtrade and we will all be contributing to balancing out the way the world is structured now; making the rich, richer and the poor, poorer.
Here is were FAIRTRADE comes in, FAIRTRADE is the mark, the certification that will ensure you that your purchase meets the FAIRTRADE standards that were established in order to put a stop to unjust trade. There are several FAITRADE Standards for the different types of producers/products, you can read more about it by following this link. There are basically two major standards:
1. Cooperatives or collectives that work together democratically.
2. Workers employed under a decent wage, being ensured health and safety standards.
The standards also come with minimum prices, a minimum that is paid to the producers so they can cover their average costs of a sustainable production. There is also an additional sum producers receive as investment called Faitrade Premium, you can read more about it by following link.
If you were wondering how products and producers are certified you can read about FLOcert, the independent auditors that are qualified and based off the countries/regions in question and are examined and trained regularly.
Here are some stats..
I understand we can’t all take the time to volunteer and offer our help to these collectives and NGO’s that can’t afford to hire more staff or don’t have the qualifications to produce certain work, like websites, videos, films, etc. But you can easily help from anywhere around the world, simply purchase local, fair trade items. That’s it! The problem is we all think one person won’t make the difference so no one does it. Or many think that by saving some cents purchasing non-fair trade items for the corporate companies they are improving their lifestyle in the long run but, what about the people that don’t have a voice, the people who are just unable to sustain themselves any other way. I hope one day we can all understand that we might be paying a bit more for each product but at least we are helping our world become a better place some twenty-fifty cents a time.By buying fairtrade items you are giving millions of people in developing countries to live the dignified life they deserve, to be able to sustain a decent living and make their own decisions for their future., to own their lives and work to live not live to work.
Check out some videos below and for more info please visit www.fairtrade.org
If you are interested in volunteering for NGO’s and Fairtrade organizations and partners in India please visit Leave UR Mark India.