Fairtrade products are a fantastic example of the way all trade should be, because unless the workers, their families and communities are getting a good deal out of the exchange, it is hard to feel good about buying products with a history of exploitation. Whether you are buying art, school bags or coffee, if you have the choice, always buy Fairtrade. The following is a look at some of the reasons why.
Protects workers and their families
One of the biggest benefits of Fairtrade products is that they are made by workers who are paid a fair price to make them, which can be a life-changing experience for the worker and their family in some impoverished parts of the world. Fairtrade products are also made in working conditions that are safe, so the workers are able to earn a living to help support their families without having to risk their health or safety.
Keeps communities together
Without working opportunities that are safe and fairly paid, many workers end up having to leave their families to go in search of work somewhere else, which can take a big toll on both their families and the community as a whole. By providing viable, fair trade employment opportunities and offering a fair price on products already made in the community, families and communities have been able to remain together and grow stronger, rather than continually lose people to the city for low-paid jobs with poor conditions.
Safeguards the environment
Products can only be considered Fairtrade if the process of making them is not damaging to the environment, which helps maintain the health of the communities in which they are made. No amount of money can make up for a polluted environment, and so by requiring high environmental standards. Fairtrade is helping to keep communities clean and businesses sustainable for the long term.
Better-quality products, whether it be clothing or bags
It stands to reason that if the workers are being fairly paid in good working conditions, you will see a higher-quality product, which is most definitely the case when it comes to Fairtrade products, whether it is clothing or school bags that are being made. Rather than rushing through their work — which is often necessary to make money in sweatshop conditions — Fairtrade workers are paid well enough that they can concentrate on doing their best work every time.
Despite the appearance of interconnectedness, the world remains quite a segregated place, especially when you look at the rising gap between the rich and the poor. Fairtrade has presented a fantastic way to not just make connections, but to build meaningful relationships as well. By dealing with cooperatives, communities and individual workers in a fair way, the balance of power can be far more equal, enabling positive relationships to be formed rather than cycles of charity, aid and dependency.
In our consumer-driven capitalist societies, people rarely stop and think about where their products came from, but Fairtrade products raise the question loud and clear. By challenging businesses to reveal the nature of their trading relationships, Fairtrade products have vastly increased awareness of exploitation, and even large corporations have had to start distancing themselves from sweatshops.