Fair Trade is a term we see a lot on coffees and teas, but what does it really mean and is it just good marketing?
Fair Trade Certified ensures that farmers, farm workers and artisans in developing nations receive a fair price for their product. Furthermore that they have direct trade relations with buyers and access to credit.
Fair Trade Certified products use sustainable farming methods, which includes not using harmful pesticides or forced child labor and abuse. The use of the label is strictly enforced in the USA by Trans Fair USA, the only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the U.S. and one of 20 members of Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO).
Fair Trade Certified products (including bananas, cocoa, nuts, rice, tea, coffee, clothing, etc) must be grown/produced by small-scale producers in either democratic co-ops or unions.
Fit's Tip: If a package has phrases like "fairly traded" or "your purchase supports fairness for farmers," or something similar indicating fair trade practices, you may want to contact the company to ask about their purchasing guidelines.