Love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew 22:39
A Look at Fair Trade
Fair Trade Programs give consumers the opportunity to purchase goods from producers who were paid a fair price for their work. It also offers equitable partnerships between marketers in North America and producers in Asia, Africa Latin America and the Caribbean.
Fair Trade Criteria include:
- Paying a fair wage in the local context
- Offering employees opportunities for advancement
- Providing equal employment opportunities for all people
- Engaging in environmentally sustainable practices
- Being open to public accountability
- Building healthy and safe working conditions within the local context
- Providing financial and technical assistance to producers whenever possible
- Ensuring that there is no abuse of child labor
Fair Trade Benefits:
- Generates fair income for thousands of artisans around the world
- Educates consumers about trade and cultures
- Promotes people-to-people ties among artisans, traders and consumers
- Promotes gender equity: 70% of craft artisans are women
- Provides resources for education, health care and community development
- Promotes environmental stewardship
- Provides income between harvest cycles, when rural communities most need it
- Promotes democratic participation in cooperative group structures
- Ensures that artistic technologies in indigenous cultures are passed on to the next generations and preserves traditional cultures
Some common Fair Trade Products:
- Coffee, tea and chocolate
- A wide variety of handicrafts
- Hand-knotted rugs — look for the RUGMARK label
What the Oblate JPIC Office is doing:
The Oblate JPIC Office coordinates a small fair trade program featuring handicrafts made by a community of indigenous people in Bangladesh. Fair trade means that people benefit in a substantive way from the international market, receiving a decent price for their goods.
What you can do:
Make a commitment to Fair Trade. Challenge yourself to shift a percentage of the money you spend on food and goods to Fair Trade products. This will make a big difference in the lives of artisans and farmers worldwide.
To purchase Fair Trade items or for more information:
- Equal Exchange (coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa)
- Global Exchange (wide variety of goods)
- Fair Trade Federation (Comprehensive website that offers a lists of online, mail order and retail stores where fair trade items may be purchased)
- Green America – Campaign on Sweatshops and Fair Trade — lists stores and manufacturers according to levels of Fair Trade principles they use or do not use.
- Fair Trade Resource Network – an information hub designed to grow the fair trade movement.
- Fair Trade Certified – certifies fair trade products and works to promote Fair Trade
- Catholic Relief Services Fair Trade Program– offers Fair Trade goods for sale and works to educate and mobilize people