When you grabbed your coffee this morning were you aware of what that means to the people who grew and picked your coffee beans?
What exactly is Fairtrade?
Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for small-scale farmers and workers, who are amongst the most marginalised groups globally. Fairtrade rather than aid enables them to maintain their livelihoods and gain more control over their futures and the environment in which they live and work.
For most Fairtrade goods there is a Fairtrade minimum price which is set to cover the cost of sustainable production for that product in that region. And if the market price is higher for a period of time then the famers are guaranteed market price.
Over and above the Fairtrade price, there is also a Fairtrade Premium. This is an extra sum of money which goes into a communal fund for workers and farmers - to use as they see fit to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions. The community determines what is most important to them; whether this is education or healthcare for their children, improving their business or building vital infrastructure such as roads and bridges for their town or village.
What products does Fairtrade apply to?
Fairtrade generally covers commodity type products such as coffee, sugar, cocoa, tea, bananas, flowers and cotton. It applies to the original farmers and producers of these products. So for example buying products made from Fairtrade Cotton ensures that the farmers receive a fair and stable price for their cotton. Our own t-shirts do not carry the Fairtrade logo as we work to a slightly different accreditation because we have many different production elements. Instead all our t-shirts are GOTS accredited which means that all producers and processes, throughout our supply chain, are monitored to ensure we meet our social and environmental responsibility. So you are still making a change by choosing to buy an accredited product.
What does Fairtrade mean to farmers & producers?
The Fairtrade organisation have produced a wonderful film called Fairtrade Matters which will give you a glimpse into the lives of just two of the farmers and workers at the heart of Fairtrade, reflecting on what’s important to them. See and enjoy the change you help make by buying Fairtrade!