Impact Of Fair Trade
Impact Of Fair Trade
Sam Bills (Manager) gives expert video advice on: How does Fair Trade encourage environmentally safe practices? and more...
How does Fair Trade affect people's lives?
One of the ways that Fair Trade affects peoples lives is through the offering of new opportunities that come with having resources available, and so it affects people's lives by allowing them to be putting food on the table. It affects peoples lives by offering them opportunities for education; or for healthcare. It is the simple effect that having a sustainable and consistent income can have for a whole family.
How does Fair Trade affect communities?
In Fair Trade, there is a list of people waiting for consumers to buy more Fair Trade stuff, so that they can be part of the Fair Trade network. What happens is when one Fair Trade business starts in a community, other businesses are then able to grow around that. A great story that we tell here at Ten Thousand Villages is of one of the bamboo furniture producers that we buy from who started the bamboo furniture company and around that another business has grown, where someone who is locally supplying the bamboo and washing it and preparing for it to be made into furniture. Often the people who are walking to these places have enough money to be able to buy things like lunch, so businesses are springing up that provide lunch for these workers. Thus, when you have one business that is able to make it, there are so many businesses that can grow up around that. It really has an affect on the entie community.
What does Fair Trade mean for artisans?
One of the things that Fair Trade means for artisans is that they are able to do something that they enjoy doing, and that they are good at. By doing that, they are able to provide for their family, and are able to be a staple member of their community. It doesn't mean, as it often does for people in villages around the world where poverty leads to having to go to cities where they have to be away from their homes, that they have to work in doing something that is unfamiliar to them, instead they are able to function in the places where they are skilled and that they enjoy doing. And, of course, they are able to make a living by doing that.
How does Fair Trade affect consumers?
In addition to all the great benefits for artisans, the consumer really does get the best quality product. Whether it's getting the best cup of coffee; fair trade coffees are always at the top of coffee competitions because the way that they're grown using sustainable methods produces the best tasting coffee. It also means that you get the most unique and the best built products; fair trade products are made by hand and so they have a quality to them that just isn't there when you get something that is mass-produced. In the end, the consumer, in addition to the artisan, really wins by getting the highest quality product.
What does Fair Trade mean for Third World producers?
For people who are in developing countries, there is the issue of having access to developed markets, and if they had the resources to begin businesses there would be a hope not just to receive charity, but to be able to work out of poverty. For producers in developing countries, fair trade offers a real hope by providing access to things like credit that they would be able to, even with the little bit of resources, begin something that would put them on the path to working out of poverty.
How does Fair Trade promote gender equality?
Of the over a billion people who live on less than a dollar a day, well over half of those people are women, and so women are among the most disadvantaged and marginalized producers. Fair Trade really aims at helping those women to be able to provide for themselves and for their family. For Ten Thousand Villages, for instance, probably about 75% of the products we sell are made in co-ops that not only have women that are producing the handmade stuff in these co-ops, but are often taking positions of leadership in the co-ops. Fair Trade is empowering women who are among these disadvantaged producers, to be able to use their creativity, to be able to use their skill, to be able to help themselves and to help those around them. A major part of Fair Trade is this issue of valuing the input of women and what place they have in the production process, and making sure that they are being compensated fairly for that.
How does Fair Trade affect working environments?
The difference that Fair Trade makes on the working environment is clear in those industries that have been prone to the most abuse in the working environment. Industries like chocolate, where there have been major abuses of child labor, for instance in picking cocoa beans, or making oriental rugs, where in some instances, child labor has been horribly exploited in producing those kind of rugs. In those instances, it is very clear that the Fair Trade way of doing business, of making sure that there is no forced labor, that there is no abusive labor by children in producing things, that it makes a huge difference that those things are not in place. Everyone who participates in making Fair Trade products is doing so willingly, and it's what they want to be doing. That really changes the working environment, and prevents exploitation.
How does Fair Trade encourage environmentally safe practices?
Fair Trade's sustainable ways of production are a really important part of the way that Fair Trade secures the rights of producers and their communities. When you buy something that is Fair Trade certified, you know that behind that are eco-sustainable kinds of practices. For example, if you buy a Fair Trade jewelry box at Ten Thousand Villages, all of the wood that we use in our store or that's behind the production of things, like jewelry boxes, is fallen wood. There is not this issue of clear-cutting or some of the things that production can lead to when it doesn't take into account communities but is only concerned about profit, not people.
How does Fair Trade affect the global coffee market?
Coffee is one of the industries that has perhaps benefited the most from Fair Trade. The growers in the coffee industry have benefited substantially from Fair Trade because it is such a largely traded commodity - second only to oil on international markets. The growth in Fair Trade coffee has had a huge impact on those growers who are able to get in on growing Fair Trade coffee and are getting paid. Fair Trade coffee sets a minimum price for coffee growers in that with Fair Trade coffee, the minimum price is $1.26 per pound, and then on top of that there is a social premium, and then if it is organic coffee there is another premium. What it does is encourages coffee growers who are growing Fair Trade coffee to work towards sustainable and organic growing methods. It focuses on small scale coffee growers who are often left with whatever the market price of coffee ends up, and sometimes that dips below even the price of production. By setting a minimum price, Fair Trade ensures that coffee growers are being paid at least what it costs to sustainably produce the coffee.