Business Side Of Fair Trade
Business Side Of Fair Trade
Sam Bills (Manager) gives expert video advice on: What does it mean for a business to be Fair Trade certified?; Can I start my own Fair Trade business? and more...
What does it mean for a business to be Fair Trade certified?
There's always options for businesses that aren't fair trade certified to carry fair trade goods, and that's simply an issue of finding vendors and organizations that sell fair trade goods and just making the decision to carry those things. For a business that's interested in actually being a wholesaler of fair trade goods, the way to work towards that is to be in contact with a fair trade certifier like the fair trade federation or the international fair trade association. Either of those are groups that could provide the resources to figure out what the path would be to be a certified fair trade business.
What is Fair Trade certification?
Fair trade certification means that a business has submitted to a third party that, for the consumer, basically, does the research of figuring out whether the claim that something is fair trade is legitimate. So these third party organizations, like Transfair in the U.S. or the Fair Trade Federation, are non profit groups that, in the case of products, follow that product from producer to consumer to make sure that fair trade principles and practice are being kept, or that look into organizations that claim to be fair trade and see if those organizations, if their mission and principles and practice, match up with the principles of fair trade. So fair trade certification is a certification that comes from a third party, someone that's outside of the organization, that actually researches the organizations or the product to make sure that the claim that something is fair trade is legitimate.
What business markets does Fair Trade affect?
Because there are Fair Trade goods available of all sorts, I think that Fair Trade could affect a variety of markets. It has had the most effect on certain goods markets like coffee and a growing effect on fruit markets like bananas. In the world of home gifts and decor, it has also had an effect on that market. I think there is room for a lot impact in the clothing industry or other areas where Fair Trade has yet to have a lot of impact, but there's that potential.
Why is Fair Trade certification good for businesses?
Fair Trade certification or carrying Fair Trade certified goods is good for business because it's a kind of thing that consumers, even in some instances where consumers don't know that that's what they're looking for, is something that gets consumers excited. By having that extra edge that businesses are always looking for, Fair Trade is one way that you can really draw people in because whether they know the questions to ask or not I think that consumers are impressed by companies that value people and not just profit. So I think that carrying Fair Trade goods, or even moving toward being a Fair Trade business has the potential of really making your business appeal to consumers, and ultimately to benefit in terms of growth.
Can I start my own Fair Trade business?
In terms of starting up your own Fair Trade business, I think that because Fair Trade is fairly young and is a growing movement, as people learn about Fair Trade, there is an ever-increasing demand by consumers. So there's a lot of room to start Fair Trade businesses and I think really the key is just to find a niche that maybe isn't being filled within Fair Trade. I'd use the example of Anti-Body, which is a group here in the Los Angeles area that saw a niche for Fair Trade skin care and they began importing Shea butter from Toga from a co-op, and now as the company has grown they're talking about establishing their own Fair Trade co-op. So they've basically seen a need, they knew that people would be excited about Fair Trade, and so they've been able to respond to the market by creating this Fair Trade skin care company. I think it's really like starting any company, it's just good business to find what people want with the added dimension in a Fair Trade company of starting to educate people and create some awareness that will ultimately make your business succeed.