Is buying fair trade really more expensive? In answering this question, we first need to take a look at our spending habits, as well as the choices that are available to us. Those who are new or even unaware of the concept of fair trade and how fair trade works may feel that a fair trade verified item is way out of their budget. However, most of the time we compare fair trade prices to similar items that are probably of lesser quality.
We are used to what’s readily available straight “from the rack” without questioning how or who made these products. We have been accustomed to looking at the price tag first, instead of looking at the actual value of these products. There is a reason why products in the commercial market are less expensive. Throughout the supply chain, to make the final products cheaper and “affordable”, costs are cut either in labor or materials to arrive at a price that still is profitable for the manufacturer. This results in non fair trade products as being more expensive, because most likely they will break quickly and you will just have to purchase another one.
In the alternative, fair trade uses responsible sourced materials to create quality products that will last for years, saving you money in the long run (and certainly with other benefits to the planet and the people who inhabit it!).
At Fair Anita, we're committed to making ethical purchasing more affordable, so we work with our artisan partners to determine recycled materials and cost-saving techniques that can be used when handcrafting the products.
Additionally, fair trade is a market based approach that is committed to the following:
- Promoting safe and healthy working conditions
- Promoting the environment
- Enables transparency throughout the supply chain
- Enabling communities to have strong and thriving businesses
Fair trade is also committed to:
- Providing livable wages to workers
- Ensuring funds from fair trade sales are also set aside to improve local communities. This is done through programs such as school development, environmental protection, women’s rights, leadership training, and quality of life improvements
So, the real question is not if we are paying more, but if we are paying fairly? Granted there are some who are willing to purchase products that are wildly expensive and still use exploitative labor, mainly of the status of the “brand.” Why can’t we pay a little more for a fair trade product when it is a fair price for an item that will probably last a long time too?
I think, on a personal note, purchasing fair trade also boils down to the basic concept of compassion and kindness. It is not about giving hand-outs, it’s about doing the right thing. When buying fair trade, you are voting with your dollar to create a more equitable and sustainable world. If we had this frame of mind, wouldn’t the world be a nicer place to live in, built on respect for others and our surroundings?
I leave you with this powerful quote by Benjamin Harrison, “I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth will starve in the process.”