What is Fairtrade About?
Fairtrade Standards are designed to support the sustainable development of small producer organizations and agricultural workers in developing countries. The Fairtrade Standards incorporate a holistic blend of social, economic and environmental criteria. Traders are also covered by the standards, underscoring the commitments companies and businesses must make to contribute to sustainability in their supply chains and operations.
The Fairtrade Textile Standard is one component of the greater Fairtrade Textile Programme to facilitate change in textile supply chains and related business practices. This comprehensive approach engages manufacturers and workers in the supply chain to bring about better wages and working conditions, and engages brands to commit to fair terms of trade.
The Fairtrade Difference
Due to the high costs of Genetically Modified seeds & the tremendous amount of water & fertilizers needed to grow conventional cotton, farmers in the developing nations are forced to spiral down a vicious, debt laden cycle. This coupled with various external threats such as weather conditions and fluctuating commodity prices leads to a number of farmers committing suicides. This is where Fairtrade comes in, providing the farmers and the rest of the supply chain the necessary infrastructure & support groups to look after their interest and make sure the entire chain follows ethical practices. Fairtrade is important to authenticate & transform the entire international trade cycle into one that prevents the persecution of the disadvantaged people. The aim is to create a more humane system safeguarding the workers from unscrupulous practices.
What Makes Fairtrade Unique?
Fairtrade is 50%
Owned by Producers
Fairtrade works with a range of stakeholders but their global system is the only one that is 50% owned by producers representing farmer & worker organizations. With an equal voice, producers have a say in decision - making within the General Assembly & on Fairtrade's Board of Directors Including International and Canada, they are involved in decisions on overall strategy, use of resources & setting prices, premiums and standards.
For most Fairtrade goods, there is a Fairtrade Minimum Price which is set to cover the cost of sustainable production for that product in that region. Payment of the Minimum Price is regularly audited and checked by FLOCERT. This acts as a vital safety net for farmers and workers and protects them from fluctuations in the market prices of the products they grow for a living.
Over and above the Fairtrade Minimum Price, the Fairtrade Premium is an additional sum of money which goes into a communal fund for workers & farmers to use - as they see fit - to improve their social, economic and environmental conditions. Producers determine what is most important to them; whether this is education, health care, improving their business or building infrastructure etc.