What is Fair Trade?

What is Fair Trade Image

Do you know who made the clothes you’re wearing? What about the rugs in your house or the jewelry you own?

What if you could empower women with the purchase of a dress, allowing a mother in India to send her kids to school? What if you could help an artisan in Haiti rebuild his life and provide shelter for his family with the purchase of home goods? What if you could ensure that the kitchenwares you use were helping to empower communities in Ghana, Tunisia, and the Philippines?

It’s difficult to feel a connection to the way the everyday products we use are produced. We see a tag or a label that says “Made in India” but rarely stop to think what that means. What conditions did workers work in? Was their labor forced? Were your clothes made by children? Did the factory that made them destroy the surrounding eco-system? The answer to these questions is often yes.

But as a consumer, you do have a choice. When you choose fair trade and eco-friendly, you choose to improve the lives of real people and to make a positive impact on the earth. Fair trade is a market-based approach to sustainable development; that means this is not charity. Artisans earn a fair wage for their work, so they don’t need to rely on handouts – they support themselves and their families by working.

The cornerstone of our non-profit organization, Greenheart Shop, resides in these types of ethical and sustainable trading partnerships known as fair trade. Fair trade is a business model based on internationally recognized equitable trading standards which place people and sustainability at the heart of every business decision.

The principles of fair trade are:

Fair trade is truly the embodiment of global exchange! Its purpose and future in the international market is on the rise, and Greenheart is delighted to make these products available to you. Empower your purchase with Greenheart at our fair trade online store and/or our at our Chicago fair trade shop!

A Living Wage

The fair trade pricing system enables workers to receive a livable income that covers their basic needs, which include food, shelter, education, and health care for their families. Fair Traders pay producers promptly and, if necessary, help them with access to pre-harvest or pre-production financing.

Long Term Investment in People

Fair trade is about building direct, long-term and stable relationships between importers and producers. Long term contracts are a key component of Fair Trade because they provide farmers and artisans with consistent work and job security.

Environmental Sustainability

Fair trade actively encourages environmentally friendly production by promoting the use of local and recycled materials, sustainable harvesting techniques and organic farming practices. Fair trade farmers are required to implement integrated crop management and are given price incentives as well as ongoing trainings, to help facilitate their transition to organic farming. Currently 85% of all fair trade certified coffee is organic.

Empowerment for Women

Many of Greenheart’s goods are made by women artisans. Fair trade provides employment without discrimination and ensures equal pay for equal work for both women and men. According to the Fair Trade Federation, 70% of fair trade artisans are women, who are often the sole wage earners in their homes. Fair Trade also provides women with leadership positions and an equal voice in decision making.

Safe and Healthy Working Conditions

In many countries, labor laws are weak or not enforced at all. Agricultural work can be particularly dangerous. That is what fair trade is trying to change. Fair trade goods are made by people working in safe working conditions.

Transparent Trade Terms

Fair trade ensures transparent trade terms throughout the supply chain. Finances, management policies and business practices of businesses engaged in fair trade are transparent and open to public accountability.