What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is a social movement which aims to give workers and producers in developing countries a better deal by paying them fair prices and by helping them to become economically self-sufficient.
Being economically self-sufficient means not having to rely on other countries for help with money, by being financially independent.
Fair Trade states that the farmers who produce things like food and materials to sell abroad should be paid a fair price for them and that the workers in factories or on farms should be paid fair wages. Another important part of Fair Trade is decent working conditions for all workers.
More environmentally friendly practices and gender equality (men and women being paid the same for the same job and having equal job opportunities) are also important parts of the Fair Trade movement.
What are Fairtrade products?
If you want to support Fair Trade then you need to know which products farmers have been paid a fair price for and workers a fair wage for. The Fairtrade labelling system makes it easy for you to identify which products meet the Fair Trade standards – just look out for the blue and green Fairtrade logo on the packaging.
When Fairtrade products first became available in the 1960s, they could only be found in special “Worldshops”, but now it is easy to find Fairtrade products in lots of supermarkets and shops. Oxfam and the Co-op are especially known for their wide range of Fairtrade products.
Fairtrade products can include everything from chocolate and coffee to jewellery and flowers! There are over 2000 official Fairtrade products available in the UK – you can find out what they are and where to get them by visiting the Fairtrade site.
If you want to do more then there is also the opportunity to get involved in Fair Trade campaigns and events or make donations. You could see if your town could become a Fairtrade town or perhaps you could convert your school to a Fairtrade school.
Concerts and exhibitions are held in aid of Fairtrade all through the year. Take a look at www.fairtrade.org.uk to find out more.
Who can help?
Visit www.fairtrade.org.uk for loads of stuff on Fairtrade products and suppliers and how to get involved with Fair Trade.
For further information on Fairtrade products, take a look at www.fairtrade.net, the home of FLO (Fairtrade Labelling Organizations) International.
IFAT is the global network of Fair Trade Organisations and you can visit their site at www.ifat.org.