Ethical companies make sure all farms are provided with the necessary tools as well as a stable income to survive. Through the power of fair trade, companies and consumers can help more than 320,00 people around the world.
What is a fair trade?
Fair trade aims to help communities in underdeveloped countries produce ingredients to trade worldwide. It also helps the environment. Companies, such as The Body Shop, do this by investing fairly in what the community can provide, like coffee, sugar, flowers, fruit, chocolate, and ingredients for cosmetic products.
This means that when a product is labeled as fair trade, the laborers from an under-developed community, such as the farmers, are compensated fairly for their time and equipment. It also makes sure the quality of what they provide is at its best so the community isn’t disadvantaged and can achieve a decent standard of living.
The Fairtrade Labeling Organisation (FLO) provides many companies with certification for using fair trade products by offering the producers a better deal to improve terms of trade. It gives them the opportunity to improve the quality of their products and enhances their prospects so they can plan for a better future. In addition, because of the higher quality products they have supplied, it results in better premiums and can help to reduce poverty in the community.
How can communities benefit?
FLO has a number of programs aimed at reducing poverty, one being child labour. This program focuses on the exploitation of children working in dangerous conditions, who have been forced into this situation because of poverty and no access to basic education or social protection. FLO provides expert international non-governmental organizations to fight to ensure the children’s rights are secured. The organization also educates and encourages communities of fair trade products to live in a safe and protective environment.
FLO provides financial support to communities affected by drought or floods through its climate change program. This program ensures the producers don’t suffer financially when nature works against them.
Farmers on smaller properties in developing countries often face extreme obstacles when it comes to raising finances. Fairtrade International’s Global Producer Finance Unit (GPFU) works to improve access to financial resources for their trade.
What do we need to know about fair trade?
It’s important that as consumers we understand what fair trade means and how we contribute to it by buying certified fair trade products or swapping our non-trade products for fair trade options. The Body Shop has had as a core value to support community fair trade for more than 26 years and contributes to 18 different communities using fair trade ingredients. The Body Shop’s program is externally verified by an independent Swiss organization, IMO, which introduced ‘Fair for Life’. This is a third party certification program that complements existing fair trade certification systems by a highly qualified external verifier. It combines strict social and fair trade standards with adaptability to local conditions.
By buying fair trade products you are positively contributing to underprivileged communities so they can build a quality of life for themselves through supplying high-quality ingredients and products for consumers. It’s like physics, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This has a positive impact on the men’s and women’s lives who are at the other end of the supply chain making the cosmetic ingredients you place on your body. We normally wouldn’t even think of these people when buying, but fair trade forces us to consider them.
Fair trade has a massive impact on the environment as well, especially when it comes to not using toxic, harmful pesticides that destroy the soil and contribute to deforestation. Fair trade protects the environment’s natural water sources, virgin forests and other important land areas and deals with problems of erosion and waste management. These initiatives contribute to a better community in which to live and help reduce the carbon footprint.
Fair trade provides a plan that works well for both parties by monitoring what effect their activities are having on the environment. Then they must make a plan of how they can reduce the impacts and keep checking that this plan is carried out over time.
Fair trade sugar cane
Sugar cane is an example of a fair trade product which is an ingredient in many perfumes. Fair trade sugar cane has been hand-picked by farmers, reducing crop damage and ensuring it is free of disease or contamination. The soil that it grows in isn’t contaminated by pesticides which can make the sugar cane weak and not up to standard when mass-produced. Ethical companies make sure all farms are provided with the necessary tools as well as a stable income to survive. Through the power of fair trade, companies and consumers can help more than 320,00 people around the world.
A fair go for all
These companies sell beauty products that contain certified fair trade ingredients:
- Neal’s Yard Remedies
- The Body Shop
- Marks & Spencer body butter