Fair Trade is a movement that works toward eliminating global poverty and promoting self-sustaining economies in developing countries all over the world. Fair Trade works on the premise of paying a fair price and enforcing fair labor laws for all workers, while producing high-quality organic products that are healthier for our planet. Its focus is on products that are exported from developing countries to developed countries, including bananas, chocolate, cocoa, coffee, cotton, honey, sugar, tea, and wine.
Fair Trade was officially started in Europe in the 1960s, though efforts to promote fair trade had been around since the 1940s. In the ’60s, students started targeting corporations after realizing that traditional business models were flawed, living by the slogan of “trade not aid.”
There are high standards set for products to be Fair Trade certified. Two companies are involved in the certification process, one to set the Fair Trade standards and one to certify that all standards are met, so when you buy something that is Fair Trade certified you know you are getting a legitimate product.
Today, organizations like Catholic Relief Services strongly promote fair trade goods all over the world. The CRS Fair Trade network guarantees fair wages to all disadvantaged farmers and workers, and also provides desperately needed technical and financial assistance to local farmers to get their goods to market.
The Fair Trade movement gives disadvantaged workers in developing countries a chance to provide a better future for their families, and does this while promoting a healthy planet. All of the products offered from Fair Trade workers are farmed and produced by hand.
Fair Trade clothing is all made out of organic cotton. All of the food is farmed organically, meaning it carries no pesticides or other toxic chemicals. In buying Fair Trade, you are not just giving poor people in developing countries a better life; you are benefiting our world by buying products that promote healthier lives for everyone.
To learn more about the Catholic Relief Serives, or to make a donation to their program, take a look at the CRS website. And also, to live a healthier life and to make yourself a better steward of the environment, check out GREENandSAVE’s section on Green Lifestyle.