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What does "fairtrade" really mean?

June 29, 2015 Jocyl

We hear the term “fairtrade” being used a lot these days, but what exactly does it mean?

When a product is labelled “fairtrade” it means that it has been produced, manufactured and distributed in a just and ethical manner. The workers are being fairly compensated, their income is stable (regardless of market demand fluctuations), they have proper benefits and rights, their cultural identity is being respected and they have humane working conditions and hours. Fair trade not only concerns workers but also the community where the business is established and the environment.

Fairtrade practices were brought into the commercial market by religious groups and non-governmental organisations in the 1940s. The promotion of fair trade in the global market is mainly a response to slavery, child labour, middlemen and other labour related issues.  This is a very controversial topic to discuss because it raises awareness to the fact that, even at present, only about 20-50% of products in a certain category are certified by Fairtrade Labelling Organization (FLO) International’s Fairtrade Certification. To get a very clear picture of unfair trading practices, I suggest movies that are based on factual events like Blood DiamondHotel RwandaThe Constant Gardener and The Fair Trade.

Fairtrade Organisations concerns are mostly directed at producers and manufacturers in the developing world.  Developed nations are not excluded as they also have a department for fairtrade, oftentimes a branch of the government, with laws that abide by international standards. Developed western nations like Australia, New Zealand and the UK for example have a government branch called Office of Fair Trading which protects consumers and producers.

Today, for a product to be certified for a fairtrade label, it also has to comply with guidelines on community development, environmental sustainability among other criteria. It is important that a product claiming to be fairly traded has this certification or else you won’t be able to guarantee anything.  Buying fairtrade means you are ensuring better lives and a more sustainable production.

 

Are all fairtrade products organic and vice versa?

Not all organic products are fairly traded and not all fairtrade products are organic. However, the two usually go hand in hand because fairtrade standards require sustainable farming and to go organic means upping the game; additionally, choosing to grow organic means getting a premium that goes to fairtrade cooperatives who then uses it to fund community projects. Organic farming is also the usual method for small farms, small farms and agricultural families being the primary targets of FLO.

Uma Organics’ sheets are made only from certified 100% organic cotton produced in conditions fairtrade standards.

You also benefit from Fairtrade Organic Products:

  • You are assured of the quality. Not only because there are strict guidelines for organic production, but since fairtrade assures that growers and manufactures are well compensated, growers will choose the best of their crops to maintain a good relationship with their supporters.
  • You know that you are paying for quality and not the profit that brokers have padded on the product as it made its way to you.
  • Safer and better for our health through avoiding carcinogenic & other harmful toxins & chemicals, as well as the environment through soil permeability and sustainability that is not possible through conventional farming methods.  These are the primary benefits if you shop organic.

By choosing 100% certified & guilt-free organic cotton sheets from Uma Organics, you know you are getting only the best and you can rest easy knowing that you are helping eliminate global trade inequities.


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