World Fair Trade Day 2006

So what is Fair Trade...

From Global Exchange:

In today's world economy, where profits rule and small-scale producers are left out of the bargaining process, farmers, craft producers, and other workers are often left without resources or hope for their future. Fair Trade helps exploited producers escape from this cycle and gives them a way to maintain their traditional lifestyles with dignity. Fair Trade encompasses a range of goods, from agricultural products from the global South like coffee, chocolate, tea, and bananas, to handcrafts like clothing, household items, and decorative arts. Our Fair Trade campaigns and stores offer a variety of ways for you to support this growing movement for social justice!

Fair Trade involves the following principles:

*Producers receive a fair price - a living wage. For commodities, farmers receive a stable, minimum price.
*Forced labor and exploitative child labor are not allowed
*Buyers and producers trade under direct long-term relationships
*Producers have access to financial and technical assistance
*Sustainable production techniques are encouraged
*Working conditions are healthy and safe
*Equal employment opportunities are provided for all
*All aspects of trade and production are open to public accountability

Fair Trade products can be identified by the "Fair Trade Certified" label or the Fair Trade Federation logo on a product. The "Fair Trade Certified" system involves non-profit organizations in 17 different countries, all affiliated with Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International. In the USA, TransFair USA places the "Fair Trade Certified" label on coffee, cocoa, tea, bananas and other fruits. This label is product-specific, meaning that its presence on one product doesn't mean that all of the companies products are Fair Trade. The Fair Trade Federation is an association of businesses that follow fair trade principles across the board, so its presence on a product DOES mean that a company supports the highest level of commitment to fair trade -100%. The Fair Trade system benefits over 800,000 farmers organized into cooperatives and unions in 48 countries. Fair Trade has helped farmers provide for their families' basic needs and invest in community development. However, these farmers are still selling most of their crop outside of the Fair Trade system because not enough companies are buying at Fair Trade prices. Help increase the demand for Fair Trade among companies, retailers, and consumers! Learn how you can get involved and make a real difference for small-scale producers!

Fair Trade handcrafts are purchased through a number of different Alternative Trading networks, such as the Fair Trade Federation and the International Federation for Alternative Trade. Global Exchange has three retail Fair Trade Stores: online and two brick & mortar locations. These stores offer consumers the opportunity to purchase beautiful, high quality crafts and commodities from producers and farmers that were paid a fair price for their work. We tell the stories of the cultures and families, primarily indigenous peoples and women who created these amazing crafts from around the world.

What about family farmers and farmworkers struggling to make ends meet in the USA? You can ensure equity and sustainability in domestic agriculture by buying local organic produce from farmers' markets, co-ops, and Community Supported Agriculture groups, and by looking for the union label on produce items. YES- you can have it all!

Fair Trade provides a sustainable model of international trade based on economic justice. It means an equitable and fair partnership between consumers in the Global North and producers in the Global South -- and is an alternative to sweatshop production. Please join us in supporting Fair Trade and using our consumer power to create a better world for all!

Get involved with Fair Trade with the following organizations:

Oxfam's Make Trade Fair:www.maketradefair.org
Equal Exchange: www.equalexchange.org
TransFair: www.transfairusa.org
DATA: www.data.org


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