Sunday, May 3, 2009

Fair Trade day is May 9th, 2009 (click to go to

“Getting money is not all a man’s business; to cultivate kindness is a valuable part of business life”. Samuel Jackson

What is “Fair Trade”?

I started thinking and wondering what “Fair Trade” was when I started shopping at Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s. There I saw many items that were labeled “Fair Trade”. I was looking for a good organic coffee and came across Dean’s Bean’s coffee.
I have to say that this is the best coffee I’ve ever had. It tastes just as good as its awesome aroma and this, in my book, is hard to find when it comes to coffee. Dean’s Bean’s coffee is organic and fair trade and this started my quest for the definition of fair trade. This is some what I found:

Fair trade means “an equitable and fair partnership between consumers in North America and producers in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean”.

The Fair Trade’s principles include the following;

• Producers receive a fair price, a living wage. Farmer groups are guaranteed minimum floor price and an additional premium for organic products.
• Forced labor and forced child labor are not allowed
• Buyers and producers trade under direct and long term relationships eliminating the middleman and empowering farmers to develop business to compete in the global marketplace.
• Producers have access to financial technical assistance
• Sustainable production techniques are encouraged. Environmentally sustainable farming methods are favored which protect farmers’ health and preserve valuable ecosystems.
• Working conditions are healthy and safe.
• Equal opportunities are provided for all

Fair trade helps farmers provide for their families basic needs and invest in community development such as scholarship programs, quality improvement trainings and organic certification.
In the USA, Transfair USA places the “Fair Trade Certified” label on fair trade products. Fair trades certification insures that the workers are paid fair wages, are free from abusive labor practices and use environmentally sustainable methods.

Fair Trade focuses on a wide variety of goods but most notably, handcrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, chocolate and flowers.

I now choose differently when there is a choice between the same type of product and one is fair trade and one isn’t. I personally feel that there is more to business than just getting money as Samuel Jackson so eloquently phrased it. I don’t always feel I have the opportunity to “give back” to the world so buying fair trade products is one of the ways I do… Let’s play fair ;)

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