What to look for when buying fair trade
How do you buy fair trade? This is a question I eagerly sought out answers for when I first learned that there where different ways of shopping. And luckily for us, buying fair trade has never been easier. There are countless shops popping up all over the world that sell exclusively fair trade products, or that have a strong consciously curated collections. Just with a simple google search, you have lots of fair trade brands to choose from that sell anything from coffee to jewelry and even home goods. You can check out great lists of fair trade brands from websites such as stillbeingmolly.com and her ethical brand directory.
After doing a little research I found that there are so many amazing companies out there who are making ethical and sustainable products. Some of these have a fair trade certification/verification or others will provide you with a list of practices that make them fair trade. When looking to buy fair trade, here are the three important practices I look out for.
Is this business telling you that they provide a living wage to the people making their products? Do they tell you how much people making the profit are making, this could be a percentage of the product or a specific wage? We love it when a business is transparent and breaks down this information for you. Check out our artisan page for some examples about what you should see from a transparent, fair trade organization.
Does this brand try to reduce its impact on the planet through the materials they use and their everyday operation? This is a principle of fair trade not always thought of. But the Fair Trade Federation and the World Fair Trade Organization both have this as a practice necessary for a company to be fair trade. Some fair trade companies use organic cotton, other upcycle materials as our Ethiopia Collection made from upcycled bullet casings. There are many different ways for fair trade companies to have sustainable practices.
Overall, though, a fair trade company should be transparent. They have nothing to hide and are proud of how they make their products and of the people who make them. Companies that state they're doing good in the world without being transparent about how that's being done usually have something to hide. Transparency is a key principle of fair trade: not only with our customers here in the U.S., but transparency with our artisan partners as well.
If you are interested in buying fair trade in person you can start by checking out stores that carry Fair Anita products, we have a list right here.