Fair trade is a global movement sharing the vision of being ethically responsible for the wellbeing of both the people and the planet. In essence, the very heart of a fairtrade business aims to build global equity and provide sustainable + solutions for some of the world largest problems.
With all that being said, here are the 10 principles of Fair Trade which the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) recommends for the Fair Trade Organization to follow. It is imperative to incorporate these principles in the organization's day-today work flow and to carry conscientious monitoring alongside it.
1. Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers
To reduce poverty through trade and business is one of the many aims of Fair Trade. Enterprises that follow the fair trade business model support small producers by partnering with them on opportunities to achieve economic self-sufficiency.
2. Transparency and Accountability
Enterprises should ensure transparency and accountability among its stakeholders. Ensuring dialogue and participation from employees/artisans is key to this system. Both members and producers are encouraged to become active participants of the decision-making process. Transparency and accountability reflects at all levels of the supply chain. In short, this principle protects shady undertakings of businesses.
3. Fair Trading Practices
Every fair trade enterprise must have genuine concern for the social, economic and environmental well-being of artisans and producers. This maxim is the main thrust of the fair trade principle, in that no business has the right to exploit people for gain and profitability. Thus, fair trade is the very model of respecting life.
At the same time, enterprises must maintain constant and open communication, not just with their workers, but also with their trading partners and other fair trade organizations in their country to build healthy and fair competition.
On another note, fair trade gives importance to the cultural identity and traditional skills of a region by promoting and elevating small producers.
4. Payment of a Fair Price
Producers receive fair prices and wages for their work. Using an open dialogue and participation, the pay and price are agreed upon, which is amenable to the producers. At the same time this must include costs for marketability and sustainability of the products in the open marketplace.
When we say “fair pay”, this pertains to producers and artisans being compensated with socially acceptable remunerations based on the local context. Although a fair trade pricing structure exists, this is only used as a base minimum. Thus a dialogue with producers is vital to achieve the appropriate baseline amount.
It is also important to note that fair trade promotes equal pay and work for both men and women.
5. Ensuring no Child Labor and Forced Labor
Abiding and adhering to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as national and local laws involving the employment of children, fair trade organizations must ensure that there are no children involved in labor and production.
6. Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Women’s Economic Empowerment and Freedom of Association
Inclusivity despite diversity is at the core of every fair trade certified organization. What does this entail? Fair trade enterprises do not discriminate in the terms of hiring, wage and pay, access to training based on race, nationality, religion, gender or sexual orientation, political affiliation, status or age.
The spirit of fair trade is about ensuring that every individual is given equal recognition and opportunity. This also means that producers have access to resources to become productive and acquire the ability to influence wider policies and regulations to better shape their lives while being able to take care of the environment.
7. Ensuring Good Working Conditions
A healthy and safe environment should be provided for by fair trade agencies to their members by complying to the national and local laws with regard to health and safety. Whether it be the working hours or the working environment, fair trade enterprises must comply and continue to raise awareness on this aspect of work conditions.
8. Providing Capacity Building
It is the responsibility of fair trade organizations to develop the skills and capabilities of both employees or members. By working directly with small producers, Fair Trade enterprises are compelled to develop specific activities to help these producers improve their management skills, production capabilities and access to markets.
9. Promoting Fair Trade
Promote, promote, promote. Embodying the fair trade spirit entails each organization to advocate for fair trade among their customer base. This is done by providing information about the producers and products in line with objectives of fair trade.
10. Respect for the Environment
We have one planet and we must do what we can to work with nature, not against it. Fair Trade certified organizations are encouraged to source raw materials from the local community or least impact to the environment. Technology used in production should seek energy reduction; gearing towards renewable and sustainable energy technologies.
All this does not stop at the production level, of course. All organizations should make use of packaging materials that are eco-friendly--- recycled, upcycled or biodegradable.
The idea behind fair trade is to challenge the purpose of every business providing a business model that is fair, ethical, and sustainable. That’s what we, at Fair Anita, are all for!