“Fair Trade” refers to the way products are grown or manufactured. Fair Trade principles ensure that:
* laborers are paid a decent wage for their work
* children have not been forced into abusive labor practices
* farmers use sustainable agricultural practices that minimize pesticide use and promote soil and water conservation, and manufacturers generally reduce use of toxic chemicals and reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as possible
* producers democratically participate in their own enterprises.
That makes sense, right? What’s sometimes not so obvious is how you can support Fair Trade in your daily life. These ten tips will get you started.
1) Look for the Fair Trade certified label. The label guarantees that the producer has met meaningful, independent standards set by TransFair USA, the only third-party certifier for Fair Trade products in the U.S. market.
2) Look for Fair Trade products where you shop. Wegman’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Starbuck’s, Caribou Coffee, Dunkin’ Donuts, Costco, Giant, Sam’s Club, Safeway, and Target are among the many retailers that offer a variety of Fair Trade certified products. If you don’t see Fair Trade, ask for it. Store managers may not be aware that Fair Trade products exist, or that you want to buy Fair Trade. If you don’t see Fair Trade products on store shelves, tell the store manager what you’re looking for and why. Ask the store manager to give you a date when you can expect to see the product on the shelves.
3) Shop online. Equal Exchange sells delicious chocolate and coffee and other foods that are not only fair trade certified, but certified organic as well. World of Good is an EBay site that offers a wide variety of fair trade certified products. Ten Thousand Villages works with over 130 artisans to offer fair trade certified jewelry, home decor, clothing and gifts.
Choose the following Fair Trade products when you shop:
Don’t miss the Big Green Purse shopping principles.
By Sophia Bambalis.