At your favorite market, you can shop for healthy products and exciting flavors. Have you also noticed ways to shop for a better world? That's what the fair trade logo signifies.
In the United States, TransFair USA (www.transfairusa.org), an independent, third-party certification organization, regulates fair trade standards. The fair trade logo indicates that farmers are paid a living wage for their crops, workers are treated with dignity, and small landholders are part of a co-op or other democratic organization.
By purchasing products bearing the Fair Trade Certified label whenever possible, you're voting with your dollars to help improve lives for farmers and farm workers throughout the developing world. Fair Trade Certified products include coffee, tea, chocolate, fruit, rice, sugar, herbs, spices, and even flowers.
Strong Growth, Smart Business
Through fair trade certification, importers and retailers pay a premium price to farmers and farm workers who commit to grow and produce goods in accordance with rigorous standards that guarantee worker rights, community empowerment, and environmental sustainability. Through sales of Fair Trade Certified products in the United States—which hit an estimated $1 billion in 2007—TransFair USA has delivered more than $100 million in additional revenue to farmers and farm workers in rural communities throughout the developing world. This number is steadily rising: The income generated by U.S. purchases that’s gone directly back to farmers has grown by 116 percent since 2005. When small-scale farmers are paid a living wage, they can afford to feed their families, send their children to school instead of to the fields, and obtain basic healthcare. Many farmer co-ops use their income to establish community health clinics or help growers transition to certified organic farming.
For People and the Planet
More farmers than ever before are able to access the benefits of the fair trade system. “The sales of Fair Trade Certified products make a positive impact for farmers, their families, surrounding communities, and the environment all around the world,” said Paul Rice, president and CEO of TransFair USA. Worldwide, more than seven million farmers, farm workers, and their extended families and communities are seeing the positive benefits.
A Fair Trade Certified label on a product ensures that a fair price is paid for the product, fair wages are paid to the workers producing the item, and monies are invested in the communities. Fair trade certification also means that farmers use sustainable farming practices, including composting, terracing, and reforestation. Growers use nonchemical alternatives to pesticides. More than 80 percent of Fair Trade Certified coffee is shade grown. “Shade grown” refers to crops, usually coffee and cacao, cultivated in their natural habitats under the canopy of tall trees, allowing for less fertilizer use and more biodiversity.
An increasing number of American consumers are looking for—or even demanding—Fair Trade Certified products where they shop. Participate in the global farmers’ market by purchasing Fair Trade Certified products, knowing that you’ve helped provide better lives for farmers and their families around the world.