The definition of fair trade
The famous Chinese Proverb“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. This is a very good way to justify Fair trade, as it invests in people and communities. We all know Fair trade is a good thing, but how does it work? Where and why did Fair trade start? Is it a fair deal for everybody? These are a few of the questions I get asked.
The myth of Fair Trade The common mistake most people make is that because workers get a "Fair Wage" they are paid more and products will be very expensive. Not at all, fair trade products are now becoming cheaper than goods from countries like China. Sometimes goods are a little more expensive, but this is because of the Fairtrade Premium, the extra money that is being invested in projects like hospitals and schools in the local community, which will have a long term positive effect. A Fairtrade minimum price has to be set to cover the production of the goods and proof needs to be shown the a fair wage is paid to the employee this is set by Fairtrade International. If the market price is higher than this price, the buyer must pay that higher price as a minimum.
The History of Fair Trade
The Fairtrade concept was conceived just after World War II as a form of charity advocated by non-governmental religious organisations in the USA. where they would buy products from poorer countries, mainly Africa, and sell them in their churches. The main charity was Self Help Crafts (Now trading as Ten Thousand Villages) and began buying needlework from Puerto Rico in 1946. Now the range of products has greatly expanded from cushions to gold! Over the past seventy years the concept has radically changed in structure, philosophy and its approach becoming more beneficial. Fair Trade only really began to take hold in the 1970s, and then following the first Fairtrade labelling (1988) it began to be a business success, but it was only after the turn of the century Fairtrade foods started to make a real impact. In 2003 Fairtrade UK sales was just under £100million and in 2012 over one and a half billion pounds!
Building on its success with food and drink, Fairtrade started to expand with companies and artisans creating products such as ornaments, homeware and clothing accessories. These are hand-made, eco-friendly, inventive and of high quality.
My onlin, Voyage Fairtrade, loves these Fairtrade products! That is why as well as helping artisans in poorer countries to have a fulfilled life and a better standard of living, we are now selling some fantastic unique items. Please see our range, a treat for yourself or great for gifts, and support the Fairtrade movement at www.voyagefairtrade.com or follow us at Facebook.