About Fair Trade
WHAT IS FAIR TRADE?
Fair Trade is a movement: a socially innovative response to market
failure – the failure of the traditional trade system to incorporate fair
access to markets, wage justice and environmental standards. The origins
of the Fair Trade movement can be traced back 50 years where, rooted
in trade justice and human solidarity, it established alternative methods
of supplying products with a shared understanding of fairness and trading partnerships. Fair Trade products (craft and commodities) allows us, as
consumers, to support trade justice through our purchasing choices.
WHY FAIR TRADE?
The benefits of international trade are not shared fairly by everyone
in the world. Small producers have limited access to market and price information. As a result, they are often dependent on middlemen and receive smaller returns for their work. Many plantation and factory workers endure low pay, unsafe working environments and poor living conditions.
Fair Trade promotes trade equality and justice. From producer through to consumer -- it is about ensuring the choices we make have a positive impact on our lives, the lives of others and the environment.
The Fair Trade movement involves supporting several expressions of Fair Trade, focusing on two forms: Fair Trade such as gifts and craft products and Fairtrade Certified products such as coffee, tea etc. - labelled by Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand who the Fair Trade Association established in 2005.
The Fair Trade Association provides fair trade advocacy support/networking for its members, key programs include:
Fair Trade Communities: A campaign focussed on grassroots engagement to get community organisations to learn about and purchase fair trade products and to be recognised as a fair trade town, fair trade university, fair trade school, faith group workplace or club/other independent organisation.
Fair Traders of Australia (FToA): A program to assess trading members and endorse they comply with WFTO International Fair Trade Principles; to help small enterprise trading members develop best practice. See www.fairtraders.org.au for detail on the process.
Fair Trade Networks: The Fair Trade Association encourages communities to develop networks made up of traders, FLO licensees, representatives of recognised Fair Trade Communities, university students, NGOs and helps them coordinate and promote fair trade at key events such as World Fair Trade Day, fair trade markets at Easter and Christmas and various community events throughout the year.
The Fair Trade Approach
The Fair Trade approach offers an alternative way to the injustices of conventional trade which traditionally exploits the poorest, weakest producers and misuses natural resources.
Fair Trade provides a fair price for goods and services, safe working conditions and a commitment to environmentally sustainable production.
Not only about buying and selling, fair trade practice supports welfare programs, education, healthcare and training for marginalized workers. This holistic approach makes fair trade unique and empowers disadvantaged communities to play an active part in their own development.
What Fair Trade ensures is that producers receive a fair price no lower than the market price. It also ensures that there is accountability and transparency in the supply chain so you can be sure your product has been sourced ethically.
Whilst many companies claim ethical and environmental responsibility, only those working to the 10 Fair Trade Principles have set out to ensure justice and fairness in each link of the supply chain.