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What is Fair Trade?


We will start with a fairly standard definition as used by the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand:

'Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair Trade organisations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.'

The Ten Principles of Fair Trade

  • Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers
  • Transparency and Accountability
  • Abiding by Fair Trading Practices
  • Payment of a Fair Price
  • Ensuring no Child Labour and Forced Labour
  • Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Women’s Economic Empowerment, and Freedom of Association
  • Ensuring Good Working Conditions
  • Providing Capacity Building
  • Promoting / Raising Awareness of Fair Trade
  • Respect for the Environment

These principles are detailed on the Ten Principles of Fair Trade page.

To us, fair trade means shopping for many products in a more ethical way. Buying fair trade products has an ongoing positive impact to producers and communities in developing countries.

Our Suppliers and Fair Trade

TThe majority of our suppliers are members of The WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization, formally IFTA - International Fair Trade Association). The WFTO is a global network of organisations representing the Fair Trade supply chain. Membership in WFTO provides Fair Trade organisations with credibility and identity by way of an international guarantee system, a place of learning where members connect with like-minded people from around the world, tools and training to increase market access, and a common voice that speaks out for Fair Trade and trade justice - and is heard.

WFTO is the home of fair traders: producers, marketers, exporters, importers, wholesalers and retailers that demonstrate 100% commitment to Fair Trade and apply the 10 WFTO Principles of Fair Trade to their supply chain. The works and achievements of its members make WFTO a global authority on Fair Trade and a guardian of Fair Trade values and principles.

You can learn more about our individual suppliers on our Producer pages but to give you an idea of fair trade in action here is a list of just some of their practices:

  • Co-operative ownership, decision making and profit sharing
  • Product development, marketing support and training in new techniques and skills
  • Education programmes and education payments to enable workers children to attend school
  • Social and community activities
  • Health education
  • Health and medical insurance schemes
  • Bonus payments to assist with added household expenses at festival times
  • A canteen providing a healthy meal each day
  • Schooling and child care facilities for workers children
  • The preservation and recording of traditional artefacts and techniques
  • Business and language training to producers
  • Environmentally friendly dyeing processes
  • Sourcing of organic raw materials and development of markets for organic textiles
  • Investment in equipment and technology to assist in the supply of standardised raw materials to worker producers thus ensuring better quality control in the final product
  • Loans on favourable terms to producers to develop their enterprise
  • Co-operation between producer groups to economise on raw material costs, develop new products and markets and streamline export and shipping arrangements
  • Outsourcing to women in their home or within a village group where cultural or familial commitments prevent them from travelling away to work

The FAIRTRADE Label

You will see some products on this site with this certification. The FAIRTRADE Label is a certification for particular products that meet internationally agreed Fairtrade standards. This certification is a guarantee to consumers that their purchases will benefit the producers, their families and communities.

The Fairtrade Labelling organisations International (FLO) oversees a trade audit system that applies to all companies in the supply chain up to the final point of packaging. Fairtrade guarantees a fair and stable price to the farmer or producer. Worldwide over 2,500 products now carry the Fairtrade Label; tea, coffee, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, bananas, dried fruit, juice, honey, cakes and snacks, preserves, nuts, oils, herbs, spices, rice, beer, rum, wine, roses, cotton products, clothes, shoes, gold, vanilla, ice cream, flowers, cosmetics and sports balls. In Australia Fairtrade coffee, chocolate, tea, rice, quinoa, sugar and sportsballs are readily available.

Fair Trade

 

More information on the Fairtrade labelling system can be found on the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand website.

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