Fair Trade – Health and Environmental Benefits

What is Fair Trade or what it’s not? Convenience is a highly-valued luxury for consumers. Unfortunately, convenience can often come at a cost. A consumer may be thrilled to find a trendy shirt for $5, but is it worth it if it was produced in a sweatshop? Though consumers will likely never come face to face with the overworked and underpaid workers who made their wardrobe, their actions to support poorly sourced goods encourage the trade.

Instead, consumers should be aware of and educated about how fair trade products can be beneficial, not only to the workers who produce them, but to the environment and their own health as well.

What Are Fair Trade Products?

The first step to awareness and education about fair trade is knowing exactly what it is. According to KratomSpot, fair trade is:

A set of business principles that prioritize the health, economic stability, human rights, and independence of disadvantaged producers of things all over the world. This generally means individuals and families in developing or war-torn countries, but it can also mean a commitment to a fair supply chain that doesn’t use child or forced labor. It often includes a commitment to environmental responsibility, as well.

There are 10 business principles that outline fair trade standards, set by the World Fair Trade Organization:

  • Opportunities for Disadvantaged Producers
  • Transparency and Accountability
  • Fair Trade Practices
  • Fair Payment
  • No Child Labor, No Forced Labor
  • No Discrimination, Gender Equity, and Freedom of Association
  • Good Working Conditions
  • Capacity Building
  • Promote Fair Trade
  • Respect for the Environment

Companies that truly value fair trade and embrace all of its principles can get certification to prove it. The Fair Trade Certified seal not only assures consumers of a company’s processes, but that the money is also used to protect farmers and workers from unfair working conditions.

The Benefits of Fair Trade

Improving conditions for workers, such as fair pay and work environment, is the most important benefit of fair trade. Right next to that, however, is protecting the planet and producing healthier products for consumers. Fair trade essentially benefits the public in invaluable ways.

To start, fair trade enforces strict environment standards. For example, a report on fair trade and the environment reports that Fair Trade Certification encourages farmers to adopt best practice techniques, such as enhancing soil by using sustainable irrigation prices, reporting and setting goals pertaining to carbon emission, prohibiting GMOs, safely handling and minimizing the use of agrochemicals, and developing safe waste management plans.

Fair Trade Certification is additionally complementary to efforts in organic farming. According to the report, “62 percent of all Fair Trade imports into the United States are also organic, and 52 percent of all Fair Trade producer organizations world-wide hold organic certificates.”  Essentially, this shows that fair trade standards encourage producing goods that are beneficial to the planet.

Additionally, encouraging foods to be produced using organic and sustainable methods can improve the health of fair trade consumers. Those looking to live a healthier life can aim to buy food produced by Fair Trade Certified companies in addition to exercise and meal planning.

Examples of Fair Trade Products

Consumers can be on the lookout for Fair Trade Certified companies when shopping for food, clothes, and other goods. By finding and staying loyal to companies that apply fair trade principles to their business, consumers can enjoy the many benefits produced by them.

For people looking for fair trade clothing companies, they can turn to ethical clothing brands, such as Everlane, Patagonia, Reformation, and PACT, to name a few. These brands vary in price levels, meaning there are options for everyone.

For consumers lookings for fair trade food companies, the following list includes a handful of certified companies that produce great food products:

  • Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
  • Rishi Tea
  • Fair Indigo
  • Fairhills Wine
  • Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
  • Theo Chocolate
  • Blends for Life

Embracing fair trade principles, standards, and companies is a great way people can stand up for what they believe in. Fair trade products ensure good conditions for workers, environmental benefits, and health standards.

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Brooke Faulkner is a mother of two and wilderness enthusiast. When she's not writing, she can usually be found zipping around the mountains on her ATV.

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