We currently live in an uncontrolled consumer society, giving no importance to quality, origin or working conditions. However, there is a ray of hope as a trend toward ethical and responsible consumption is growing, which we hope will remain for a long time.
It is here where Fair Trade plays an important role, as it is an alternative to typical consumption and is based on solidarity and responsibility towards both people and the environment.
WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization) has established ten principles that all trade organisations should adhere to in order to be considered a Fair Trade company:
- The creation of opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers
The main objective is to reduce poverty through trade, thus supporting small producers is essential.
- Transparency and Responsibility – Submission of accounts
The organisation must be transparent at all times, involve all its employees in decision-making and have open lines of communication.
- Fair Commercial Practice
The organisation must respect contracts with small producers and not seek to increase its own income at the expense of the producers, orders must be paid for upon receipt of products and in the case of hand-made products and foodstuffs a 50% prepayment should be made. It is also very important that commercial relationships should be long-term and based on solidarity, trust and mutual respect.
- Payment of a Fair Price
The payment of a fair price, mutually agreed upon, means that producers are paid fairly and can live with dignity from their work. This fair payment must be the same for women as it is for men.
- No to Child and Forced Labour
All Fair Trade organisations must comply with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in addition to national laws. In the event that any child works it must be made public and always be monitored and must not negatively affect the welfare, safety, education and recreation of children.
- Commitment to non-discrimination, gender equality and the economic empowerment of women and the freedom of association.
In Fair Trade organisations there must be no discrimination for reasons of race, social class, nationality, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, trade union membership, political affiliation, HIV/AIDS or age.
- Guaranteed good working conditions
It is important that there is a safe working environment, and work hours and conditions must comply with national and regional laws and ILO agreements.
- Development of skills
The organisation works with small producers directly, assisting them in the development of their specific skills and activities to improve their abilities, in addition to obtaining access to local, regional and international markets.
- Promotion of Fair Trade
It is most important that the organisation promotes all of these principles by providing customers with information through marketing and publicity.
- Respect for the environment
Last but not least, the organisation must respect nature, using renewable energy techniques, reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the maximum, reducing the impact of waste on the environment by producers, who must also minimise the use of pesticides or only use organic pesticides.
Organisations exist such as Fair trade, whose job it is to ensure that these principles are complied with throughout the entire chain of production and demonstrated through a certification carried on the packaging of Fair Trade products.
Fair Trade is good for you, good for producers and good for the planet.
Álvaro Goicoechea Ramel, Director & Business Development Fairtrade Iberia