What is Fair Trade?
It is an explicit effort to counter the prevailing “free market” corporate strategy of paying workers near slave wages, while the corporation itself reaps astronomical profits. Specifically, it means an equitable and fair partnership between marketers in North America and producers in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and other parts of the world.
“Fair wage” means that workers are paid that country’s established minimum wage, at the very least. Whenever feasible, workers are paid a living wage, which enables them to cover basic needs, including food, shelter, education and health care for their families.
What we buy and where we buy it can make a world of difference to our global neighbors.
When we make fair trade purchasing a habit, our impact on people and the planet can be a positive one.
Fair trade outlets like the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center buy goods for resale from distributors who are members of the Fair Trade Federation, a network of wholesalers who are fair trade certified.
Other features of fair trade include cooperative marketplaces, respect for cultural identity, environmental sustainability, and consumer education. For an in-depth discussion of fair trade, see the web sites of the Fair Trade Federation and the Fair Trade Resource Network.
Green America (formerly Co-op America) is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to harness economic power – the strength of consumers, investors, businesses and the marketplace – to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Its Fair Trade program provides North Americans with specific action opportunities in support of global workers.