‘Fair trade’ is a word that we hear and read about often, but a lot of us fail to understand fully the concepts it entails. This article aims to do just that, define and explain fair trade and list out its advantages.
Fair Trade- The Concept
Very simply put, fair trade is both a social movement as well as a market based method to promote the production of goods in developing countries and help them achieve fairer trading conditions. The twin principles that fair trade is based on are (a) that the producer of the goods receives a living wage for his work and (b) that trade and commerce is carried out in a way that protects the environment for future generations. In this way, the aim of fair trade is not just production of goods but sustainability. The development of environmentally sustainable production methods thus goes hand in hand with humane wages and proper working conditions. The certification of a product as a fair trade product takes place only after stringent inspection since every product must meet certain standards.
One of the founding principles and also a major advantage of fair trade Australia is that it uses environment friendly methods of production. In these days of unstable environment changes and unsustainable methods of production, it becomes all the more important for us to support in any small way that we can, a product that is manufactured in an ecologically friendly manner. Fair trade coffee and cocoa plantation owners, for example, grow their organic crops in a way that doesn’t adversely affect the environment. Other fair trade products also use raw materials that have been produced or manufactured in an environmentally friendly manner. Some fair trade cooperatives, in fact, have looked up producers in areas rich in biodiversity and helped them come up with environmentally sustainable methods of production.
One concern that a lot of people may have about fair trade products is their prices may be higher than those of regular products. That, however, is a misconception of sorts since the elimination of middlemen in free trading means that the retail price of the product remains more or less the same. The elimination of middlemen is achieved by doing business with small business owners, corporations and producers directly. The MRP of the products is decided by the Fair Trade Labeling Organization which takes into account the wages of the manufacturer and the cost of production. The retailers and importers are screened to ensure that the fair base price is paid faithfully.
The best part about fair products is their excellent quality. Most such products are unique and of brilliant making and materials, very different from the mass produced items available in the market today. The food items are grown organically and are flavorsome and nutritious. Home décor items are well crafted and elegant. For their excellent quality, fair trade goods and products have a definite edge over non-fair trade ones.
Fair trade products therefore have many advantages over regular one, not just for the consumers but also for the producers.