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What does Fair Trade mean to you?

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Many young people are disillusioned with the business climate of the past, which encouraged massive profits at any cost. That's why many consumers make an effort to buy items Fair Trade. What is Fair Trade, and why is it important ? According to the Fair Trade Federation, Fair Trade items are produced according to the following principles:

Create Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers- Members create social and economic opportunities through trading partnerships with marginalized producers. Members place the interests of producers and their communities as the primary concern of their enterprise.

This is fundamentally different than the typical view of a corporation, which is to limit liability, and create the most income for investors.

Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationships- Members show consideration for both customers and producers by sharing information about the entire trading chain through honest and proactive communication. If problems arise, members work cooperatively with fair trade partners and other organizations to implement solutions.

Again, this not typical of the average customer/producer relationship. When an item is purchased at a large box retailer, there is little to no relationship with the producer of that item. That can make it more difficult to resolve issues when they do arise. I’ve often felt like because no one is directly accountable, customer service and quality is affected.

Build Capacity-Members help producers to build capacity through proactive communication, financial and technical assistance, market information, and dialogue.

Promote Fair Trade- Members actively raise awareness about Fair Trade and the possibility of greater justice in the global economic system.

Pay Promptly and Fairly- Members seek to ensure that income is distributed equitably at all times, particularly equal pay for equal work by women and men. Members ensure prompt payment to all of their partners. Producers are offered access to interest-free pre-harvest or pre-production advance payment.

Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions - Members seek to eliminate discrimination based on race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, age, marital, or health status. Members support workplaces free from physical, sexual, psychological, or verbal harassment or abuse.

Ensure the Rights of Children - Throughout the trading chain, Members respect and support the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as local laws and social norms. Members disclose the involvement of children in production. Members do not support child trafficking and exploitative child labor.

Cultivate Environmental Stewardship - Fair Trade seeks to offer current generations the ability to meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Members reduce, reuse, reclaim, and recycle materials wherever possible.

Respect Cultural Identity - Fair Trade celebrates the cultural diversity of communities, while seeking to create positive and equitable change. Members respect the development of products, practices, and organizational models based on indigenous traditions and techniques to sustain cultures and revitalize traditions.

As you can see, the label Fair Trade means a lot . For every purchase you make that is Fair Trade, you are supporting the rights of women, children, and the world.

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