We know, we know, there’s a qualifier that describes almost every food product out there. Some, like “all-natural”, have a loosey goosey interpretation. Others like Certified Organic are much more regulated. Fair Trade Certified is also nothing to sneeze at. But what exactly does fair trade really mean?
Fair Trade Defined: As far as food descriptors are concerned, fair trade is one of the most straightforward if you really think about it. Products are considered fair trade when they come from farmers in developing countries that act responsibly by compensating their workers fairly, treating the environment with respect and positively impacting the surrounding community. Basic principles of fair trade include, fair prices, fair labor conditions, direct trade (to empower farmers and eliminate the need for the middlemen), democratic decision making regarding investments within communities, community development and environmental sustainability.
What does it mean to be Fair Trade Certified? Fair Trade USA and Fair Trade International set standards and help disadvantaged communities all over the globe in building sustainable businesses that follow fair market principles. In lay mens terms, that means if you see a Fair Trade Certification on a package of chocolate, coffee or tea, you know that the product has been produced ethically. By purchasing fair trade products you are doing your part in reducing poverty in developing countries and favoring sustainable farming conditions that are better for the environment.
Which products can be Fair Trade Certified? In addition to foods like coffee, tea, fresh fruit, veggies, cocoa, sugar, beans, grains, flowers, nuts, oils, honey, spices, butter and wine, certification is also granted to certain apparel and body care products.
Where do Fair Trade products typically come from? You can find fair trade products from countries all over Africa, Asia and Latin America. According to Fair Trade USA, farms are in 70 developing countries and benefit more than 1.2 million families!
Are Fair Trade products better for you? Fair Trade products are also non-GMO and often organic. That means they can be better for you and the environment, but certainly they are better for the economies and communities around the globe.
What are some Fair Trade companies that I might know? Divine Chocolate, which is actually owned by the cocoa farmers themselves; Alter Eco, which sells products ranging from chocolate to grains; and Cisse Trading Company are all great examples.
Do you go out of your way to purchase Fair Trade Certified products? Share your favorites with us.