Welcome to Fair Trade Friday!

Last week we looked at what fair trade IS.

Today we will look at what fair trade is NOT.

Fair trade is not

  • related to “free trade” agreements with other countries. Free trade agreements have to do with duty, customs, and tax. Fair trade is about people, not politics. It is about how they are treated, and the environment in which they work in, and the wages they receive for their work.
  • always the most expensive. While there are times that fair trade items can have a higher (retail) cost than comparable items, typically, fair trade items range in the same price range. Which should raise some red flags. If items are priced similarly (and one is fair trade) this means that the item that is not fair trade potentially could be giving the producer (maker of the item) less money for their work, allowing for exploitation in wages. Exploitation through wages is when someone takes advantage of  a person that is willing to work for less money (typically just to have a job and feed their families) and the owner makes more of a profit at their expense.
  • taking away jobs from Americans here in the US, or outsourcing mass-produced products for cheaper wage. Fair trade means that a person making bamboo shoes in Malaysia has fair wage, good working conditions, and is of age (typically 16-18+) to be working. It does not mean that the Malaysian fair trade worker is taking a person’s job here in the US.
  • Organic. Just because there is a fair trade label on something, does not always ensure the item is organic. Fair trade is about the people. Taking care of and allowing dignity in the work they do.
  • a movement. It is a global outcry for permanent change  on the behalf of people to undergird the humanity of others for a lifetime and generations to come.
  • about money. Fair trade is about the people. Ensuring that they are well cared for, paid fairly, and have sustainable income without being exploited.

Please feel free to add to the list above. Love to hear what your thoughts are!

Next week we will look at why fair trade matters to each of us.

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