What is Fair Trade, and Why Should You Care?

by The Good Lane

Fair trade is probably a term you’ve seen more than a few times, especially when you go to the grocery store or browse for clothing items. But what does ‘fair trade’ actually mean, and is it really something you should care about when shopping? In short, absolutely! 

The fair trade stamp of approval on goods signifies that the product was made by a company that cares about the well-being and livelihoods of the people who produce the product and the impact their business has on the environment. Sounds good, right?

This article will go over the basics of what you need to know when you want to shop for fair traded clothes, goods, and consumables. We’ll cover the most well-known governing bodies and have included their logos below so you know what to look for and can keep your eyes peeled when shopping. Crucially, we will also cover why you should care if your products are fair trade and what we are doing at The Good Lane to ensure we contribute positively to the planet and society. Let’s go!

What is fair trade? 

In a nutshell (a fairly traded nutshell, of course! Haha, excuse the pun), fair trade goods are better for both the people and the planet. 

Although several governing bodies regulate fair trade certificates, their general principles are similar. To be a fair trade product, the goods must be supporting healthy trade that puts people and the environment above trimming costs to maximize profit margins. This means that the farmers, producers, and workers should be paid a fair wage and work alongside safe working conditions. The business will also aim to use sustainable and eco-friendly materials where possible. 

Many businesses will appoint teams to manage the wages, working conditions, and sourcing of the goods to ensure these conditions are met and recorded. Then fair trade organizations can view the supply chain and verify whether a product is fair trade. 

Why fair trade matters

Without fair trade organizations governing producers, people and the planet could be abused in the wake of companies trying to cut corners to increase their profits. Leading to cheaper goods with higher earnings at the expense of people’s welfare, animal lives, habitat destruction, and more.

As readers of The Good Lane Journal, we bet that you are interested in shopping consciously and making sure your dollar counts. After all, we only get a say in what we believe to be worth focussing on every few years with an election. Whereas spending intentionally and putting your $ towards brands that practise fair trade is the best way to vote on a daily basis! Believing we have the power to change society and the planet for good with our small daily habits is the first stage in real change!

Who defines the fair trade regulations, and can we trust them?

Here are the most well-known and regulated fair trade organizations globally. 

These organizations’ symbols offer a sign of trust to buyers that they practise what they preach. Of course, you may see ‘fair trade’ simply printed on a label or on the back of a packet, but this may not correlate with correct fair trade standards as it won’t be verified by a third party. Therefore, it’s always best to look out for these symbols where possible. 

Fairtrade International

fairtrade international logo

Fairtrade International governs the most internationally recognized symbol. They work with various other organizations to improve living standards, minimize environmental costs of production, and support local economies. If you see their stamp of approval, you know you can enjoy your morning cup of coffee knowing that the people who produced the ingredients in the Global South were looked after.

Whatsmore, they are also kept in check by ISEAL, who certify their work and ensure that you trust their logo and credibility. 

Fair Trade Certified

 fair trade certified logo

The Fair Trade Certified logo means that the Fair Trade USA organization has declared the product is fair trade. Therefore, by choosing these products over the competition, you can ensure workers and the environment are treated with care. 

World Fair Trade Organization

The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) is a community of those dedicated to upholding fair trade values and ensuring that they run their business in a sustainable manner by putting people and the planet before anything else. 

Fair Trade Federation

 fair trade federation logo

The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) is an example of an organization part of WFTO. This association has supported other businesses since the 1970s while also doing good to the plant and equality of all people involved in producing the goods, not just a few at the top! 

At The Good Lane we are keen to keep up to date with the FTF guidelines and make every effort to verify brand production practises and buy products with a Fairtrade stamp of approval. 

How to find fair trade products?

Ok, so now you know the importance of buying fair trade, but how do you go about this? 

Fortunately, the organizations mentioned each use an unmistakable fair trade logo found on the packaging of certified fair trade goods. You may even find these marks in cafés or restaurants that buy fair trade ingredients! 

You can also shop with local and independent stores who prioritise sustainable and fair trade business practices. So find a few trusted shops that provide fair trade goods so you can save time when shopping for groceries and clothes etc. 

TOP TIP

Fairtrade International offers a free search tool called fairtrade finder, where you can look up companies in your local country and find licensed fairtrade brands. 

We care about fair trade

At The Good Lane, we do the leg work in sourcing eco-friendly, ethically made, and cruelty-free products for our seasonal boxes. Therefore, when you purchase from us, you know that the items you receive were made using sustainable materials and ingredients with loving hands paid fairly for their skills and time. 

We also ensure that we give back 5% of the profits to help support human and animal rights and fair wages. Our brand values aren’t compromised for personal gains or in the interest of economic growth as we stand by the fact that the people and planet are at the core of all decisions we make. 

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