Fair Trade is a growing solution to fighting poverty and social injustices. May 9th is World Fair Trade Day, an initiative of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) which takes place on the second Saturday of May each year. The WFTO encourages people to become an ‘Agent for Change’, because that is exactly what Fair Trade products provide – change. The initiative encourages people to buy ethical products and share their experience and knowledge of Fair Trade products on social media sites. It’s about raising awareness and providing others with information on what positive change can occur from buying ethical and Fair Trade products.
What exactly is Fair Trade?
When you buy your morning coffee, you may not blink an eyelid when you fork out your hard-earned cash for the cup of morning delight. Depending on your choice of coffee, it’s no surprise to spend close to $6 for one cup. But the money you’re spending on your coffee isn’t necessarily helping out the workers and farmers that have grown the coffee beans in the first place. That is, unless the coffee is ethically certified.
Fair Trade fights against poverty and exploitation, climate change and the economic crisis that has the greatest impact on the world’s most vulnerable populations in the developing world. Fair Trade organisations believe that trade must benefit the most vulnerable and deliver sustainable livelihoods by developing opportunities for small and disadvantaged producers. This means providing a fair wage, ensuring safe working conditions free from child labour, and providing a premium that communities can invest in projects that will improve their livelihoods, such as clean drinking water or sanitation.
When organisations such as Fairtrade, the World Fair Trade Organization, and the UTZ Certified group place their name on a product, it’s not just a label. These groups work with producers and certify that a product is fairly traded and produced in good working conditions with fair wages for workers. It is one of the easiest ways for consumers to understand that a product isn’t making use of forced, child or trafficked labour.
Ethical and Fair Trade products are preferred
One of the easiest ways to buy ethical products is to looks for certification from ethical standard organisations such as the World Fair Trade Organization. Businesses that source their materials and resources from ethical sources will be proud to display their association with such great initiatives, and it seems to be paying off for them too, as ethical purchases are increasing every year, especially in Australia. Consumers are starting to see the benefits of purchasing ethical products, and because of the increase in demand for such products, more large companies are jumping on board and starting to source their materials and products from ethical sources. Consumer’s small choices to shop more ethically are producing a wider and larger scale difference for those in need around the world.
According to a recent study, eight in 10 Australian shoppers would buy a product that helps someone in need, as opposed to a product that does not, if the price and product quality are similar between the two. A whopping 77% of respondents to the study also said they would purchase a product if it supported a cause that helps either animals or the environment. And with 17% of Australians buying Fairtrade Certified products at least once a month, it’s a sure sign that Australian’s are concerned about the welfare of others around the world and are looking for ways to help stop poor working conditions and living standards.
At Albury Enviro Bags too, we are supporting the Fair Trade movement. We have our own range of Fair Trade jute bags and cotton bags, which are sourced from Teddy Exports, a Fair Trade supplier who is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. Purchases as simple as these Fair Trade reusable bags can go a long way to supporting those in need. When purchasing these for your business, you are showing your employees and clients that you support this great initiative and care about where your products come from. For World Fair Trade Day, you may like to show your commitment through a Fair Trade bag filled with Fair Trade products like chocolate, coffee and tea. And through purchasing reusable enviro bags, you have the added benefit of knowing you’re helping to create a better environment, too.