World Fair Trade Month is finally here and here at Dhana Inc. we are so excited the celebrate the progress and impact that fair trade has made on the global economy. In the last year alone, our partner, Fairtrade International, supported over 1,500,000 fairtrade producers and workers, and trained 14,000 new fairtrade farmers. Fairtrade as a business practice has become a more globally recognized and viable business practice; in the last year alone, fairtrade sales reached over €5.9 billion globally!
Yet, fair trade is sometimes confusing for consumers. We know that making conscious and ethical purchasing decision can be difficult; it can require a lot of research to determine the impact of the clothing, food, or product you're buying. World Fair Trade month has presented us with an opportunity to clear up some of that confusion. This month Dhana has partnered with Fairtrade International to answer five of the most common questions we encounter regarding Fairtrade products.
What's the Difference Between Fairtrade and Fair Trade?
Currently there are many initiatives and organizations using the term fair trade. When used as "fair trade," as two words rather than one, this refers to the general movement advocating for trade on fair terms for the environment and people involved. However, the largest and most globally recognized fair trade organization is Fairtrade International, the umbrella organization of the international system that our partner Fairtrade America belongs to.
Fairtrade International is responsible for setting Fairtrade Standards and Minimum Prices and Premiums. One of the major ways that Fairtrade International differentiates itself from other Fairtrade organizations is the involvement of stakeholders in the program, including farmers and workers. Within their organization, "farmers and workers hold 50% of the vote in the General Assembly—the highest decision making body ... and hold four seats on the Board of Directors," according to Fairtrade International. We encourage you to learn more about the Fairtrade Standards here.
What About Other Fair Trade Organizations?
In contrast, there are other organization like Fair Trade USA and the World Fair Trade Organization. We think it's worthwhile to note the differences between the various certification organizations in order to make more informed decisions while shopping.
Fair Trade USA was a member of Fairtrade International until 2011, when they decided to leave Fairtrade International to launch a competing trademarked label that operated under different standards than Fairtrade International's Standards. Products carrying the Fair Trade USA label do not meet Fairtrade International's Standards. In response to this move, Fairtrade International created the Fairtrade America arm of the organization in order to maintain an international presence in the United States.
The World Fair Trade Organization is a membership-based organization for producers and traders. World Fair Trade Organization primarily works with organizations producing handicrafts. The WFTO and Fairtrade International worked together to launch the Charter of Fair Trade Principles in 2009, providing a single international point of reference for fair trade standards.