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Understanding Fair Trade

Jemi Fischbach

You may notice that there are tons of products that sport a variety of different labels throughout your local grocery store. At one time, most of these products were concentrated in one area of the grocery store, whether it was the health food section or organics aisle, but now these labels are becoming more common. Food distribution companies and brands realize that their products are much more likely to sell if there is a sticker highlighting the ingredients within. Whether it is a no sugar, organic, all-natural, or fair trade sticker, consumers tend to reach for these products more often than those without any labels.

When looking at products with the fair trade label, often people have a hard time understanding what it means. Does it mean the food is local? Is the food supporting an organization? It’s confusing because there are often several types of fair trade labels, and they don’t all mean the same thing.

When you are perusing the grocery store or a retail store, you may not be thinking about fair trade or where it is coming from. Have you ever considered overworked children could have made that tank top or pair of shoes you are buying? As the products in stores come from so far away and the consumer is so far removed from its source, it is easy to forget that the products you are buying have a history, and purchasing them affects someone halfway across the world.

Are A Company’s Products Really Fair Trade?

As the awareness of slave labor and sweatshops has become more public, companies are striving to promote products that support communities and cultures worldwide. While you may have only once seen coffee or chocolate products with the fair trade symbol, there are now full stores and online shops that carry fair trade clothing and food. The problem is that with more consumers buying products with the fair trade label, companies are looking for any way they can to get the label on the product, and sometimes it is not as ethical as you would think.

While the government oversees organic food labeling, it is a separate organization that accredits brands and products with the fair trade label. For these labels, there are distinct classifications. For example, there are non-profit organizations that label products fair trade if the company exercises ethical business practices throughout its supply chain. These companies often need to become members of non-profit organizations for them to label the products. In other cases, some organizations will provide accreditation to companies even if only one or two ingredients within the product are fair trade. For these products, you can’t guarantee that some degree of unethical business happened along the line.

If you want to buy fair trade products, it is best to research the products to guarantee that ethical standards have been upheld in all areas of its production. By researching, you can find a company’s dedication to the communities where the product originates, the environment, and equality.

Fair Trade Is Business Principles

Doing your part to research the company that you are buying products from is a great way to ensure they are practicing fair trade, but it is also helpful to know what fair trade means. When it all boils down, fair trade is business principles. These principles strive to make the environmental and economic stability of developing countries a priority. All business operations must be executed to put the health and safety of its workers first, no matter if they are local or halfway around the world. The human rights of people in developing countries must be highly considered, especially when working in the fields, factories, and communities. If a company is not prioritizing these, then they are not exercising fair trade.

By helping independent farmers and producers around the world by providing them with equal shares of the profits, companies can help to grow the communities where these farmers live, which boosts their economy. When you buy products that are fair trade, you help to support this as well. Buying fast fashion and mass-produced trinkets creates a toxic cycle in which the people in the developing nations suffer profoundly.

Why The Label?

The labeling and certification of fair trade products are essential so that consumers can buy responsibly. If products did not receive accreditation, companies would have no motivation to exercise fair trade business principles, so people around the world would continue to suffer.

By setting high standards across production and keeping consumers aware, a healthy cycle of production and purchasing can occur in which the economies where the items are produced can prosper.

When you are buying Kratom, it should be produced using fair trade principles. By taking the time and spending a bit more money to buy products that are fair trade, you are contributing to a happier, healthier world.

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