What is ‘Fair Trade’?
Fair Trade is trading partnership based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks to bring equity into international trade. Unfortunately this isn’t the way business always works for the millions of disadvantaged producers living in poverty in developing countries.
The Fair Trade movement places fairness in prices and wages, the capacity for disadvantaged communities to compete and the alleviation of poverty at the core of its commercial trade practices. As a supporter of this movement, KeapSake is a member of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand and looks to promote the following principles of the WFTO:
The World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) 10 principles are:
Creating Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalised Producers - poverty reduction through equitable trade
Transparency and Accountability - honest and proactive communication and information sharing for both producers and consumers
Fair Trading Practices - trade with concern for the social, economic and well being of producers and does not maximise profit at their expense. Maintain long-term relationships based on solidarity, trust and mutual respect. Cultural Identity - Fair Trade celebrates the cultural diversity of communities while seeking to create positive and equitable change. Members respect the development of products, practices and organisational models based on indigenous traditions and techniques to sustain cultures and revitalise traditions. Market needs are balanced with producers' cultural heritage.
Payment of a Fair Price - empower producers to set prices within the framework of the true costs of labour, time, materials, and sustainable growth.
Ensuring no Child or Forced Labour - respect and support the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Women's Economic Empowerment, and Freedom of Association
Ensuring Good Working Conditions - Safe and healthy working environments free of forced labour.
Providing Capacity Building - develop the business and management skills of producers to better access markets.
Promoting Fair Trade - raise consumer awareness and provide information about products and producers.
Respect for the Environment - Members reduce, reuse, reclaim and recycle materials wherever possible. They encourage environmentally sustainable practices throughout the entire trading chain.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM BUYING FAIR TRADE PRODUCTS?
While the Fair Trade labelling system is designed to allow consumers to identify which consumable products, such as coffee, tea, rice, chocolate, and cotton meet Fair Trade standards, there is no system in place for certifying handicraft products. However, through the World Fair Trade Organisation there is a process for producers (co-operatives and businesses) to be certified as fair-trade under the FTO Mark.
While the FTO Mark is a good way to know that the items that you buy ascribe to Fair Trade standards, it does not encompass all ethical purchasing. Micro-home producers, small co-operatives and communities don't always have the means and ability to go through the intensive process required for accreditation. However, that does not mean that they do not operate within the WFTO principles detailed above and are not ethical. All the suppliers at KeapSake are selected based on their being Fair Trade accreditated or ethical businesses which adhere to 'fair-trade' parameters.
For more information about fair trade here are some useful links:
Fairtrade International - http://www.fairtrade.net
World Fair Trade Organisation - http://www.wfto.com
European Fair Trade Association (EFTA) - http://european-fair-trade-association.org
Cooperation for Fair Trade in Africa (COFTA) - http://www.cofta.org
Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand (FTAANZ) - http://www.fta.org.au