Fair Trade Month
Tuesday was National Coffee Day, and October is Fair Trade Month:
Fair Trade certification is a market-based model of international trade that benefits over one million farmers and farm workers in 58 developing countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Fair Trade certification enables consumers to vote for a better world with their dollars, simply by looking for the Fair Trade Certified label on the products they buy.Equal Exchange is one such company that sells fairly traded coffee, among other products. They have many faith-based partnerships as well, including the United Church of Christ.
Fair Trade Certified agricultural products including coffee, tea and herbs, cocoa and chocolate, fresh fruit, sugar, rice, flowers, honey and spices (vanilla) are currently available at over 35,000 retail establishments in the U.S.
Fair Trade empowers farmers and farm workers to lift themselves out of poverty by developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace. By guaranteeing minimum floor prices and social premiums, Fair Trade enables producers to invest in their farms and communities and protect the environment. But Fair Trade is much more than a fair price.
Fair Trade principles include:
Fair prices: Democratically organized farmer groups receive a guaranteed minimum floor price and an additional premium for certified organic products. Farmer organizations are also eligible for pre-harvest credit.
Fair labor conditions: Workers on Fair Trade farms enjoy freedom of association, safe working conditions, and living wages. Forced child labor is strictly prohibited.
Direct trade: Importers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and empowering farmers to strengthen their organizations and become competitive players in the global economy.
Democratic and transparent organizations: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers decide democratically how to use their Fair Trade premiums.
Community development: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers invest Fair Trade premiums in social and business development projects like health care, new schools, quality improvement trainings, and organic certification.
Environmental sustainability: The Fair Trade certification system strictly prohibits the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), promotes integrated farm management systems that improve soil fertility, and limits the use of harmful agrochemicals in favor of environmentally sustainable farming methods that protect farmers' health and preserve valuable ecosystems for future generations.