Top Ten Ways to Buy Fair Trade

“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.

FTCLogoR 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:

4) Coffee

5) Tea

6) Cocoa and chocolate

7) Rice

8) Bananas

9) Flowers

10) Sugar

Here’s more information on why certifications are so important.

Don’t miss the Big Green Purse shopping principles.

By Sophia Bambalis.

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13 Responses to Top Ten Ways to Buy Fair Trade

  1. Katt Tcc July 16, 2009 at 9:51 am #

    I just saw your post on twitter and wanted to let you know that we are trying to promote a local fair trade organization that does business in Chiapas Mexico. I’m posting them on my site for free hoping to help in anyway I can. My site is and the organization is Cloudforest Coffee. We have a coupon listed here:
    And will be featuring them in our upcoming Newsletter. (newsletter signup here:
    I’m very happy to see that I’m not the only one who finds this important work. I’ve traveled to many countries and have seen the inequities and just wanted to help.

  2. Katie, TransFair USA July 16, 2009 at 3:03 pm #

    Hi Diane,
    Thanks for sharing the ins and outs of Fair Trade with your readers! Your tips are great – they are easy ways for people to support Fair Trade and help to alleviate poverty in the developing world.
    Check out our blog for the latest news:
    And we’re on Twitter, too! @FairTradeUSA

  3. Sarah July 22, 2009 at 3:40 am #

    Hi Diane,
    Great post, I hope Fairtrade sales continue to grow in America. For anyone reading with a UK bank acount another way to support Fairtrade further, is to support the Fairtrade producers by investing (from £100) with Shared Interest. All investments are pooled together and lent out again and again to Fairtrade producers all over the world. For many of these producers this finance is crucial to them being able to get their products to a shelf near you! For up to date info and our producer news please see our blog follow us on Twitter @SharedInterest or join our facebook group here

  4. Susan July 27, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    Hi Diane,
    I am an avid reader of your blog, and love the concept and impact of making a statement with our wallets.
    I think it is equally important to buy fair trade to ensure that women and children are being protected in regard to earnings, safety, etc.
    To that point, we recently launched a website, whose mission is to provide quality, affordable green products. Our new collection of recycled bags & totes are produced by a Fair Trade women’s co-op in the Philippines. The sale of the bags not only provides jobs for unemployed workers, but also keeps trash out of the local landfills. It’s an easy way to look good while doing good!

  5. Eugenia Alvarez August 26, 2009 at 4:29 pm #

    is the first time I read your valuable information, I`m from Guatemala and will be very interested in having more information about those thems. Unfortunately in my conuntry most of the people think that preserv our enviroment is goverment responsability and didn`t respond individualy and dont have any comintment in it. Coul`d be posible to obtainn a guide or some steps to involved the womens of my country?

  6. Diane MacEachern August 26, 2009 at 6:47 pm #

    Why don’t you contact Equal Exchange or TransFairUSA? They would be able to give you some steps to proceed. Good luck, and let us know what you do next. Diane

  7. Diane MacEachern August 26, 2009 at 6:48 pm #

    Good luck with your new Fair Trade product line. It sounds terrific.

  8. Green Fundraising September 19, 2009 at 12:11 pm #

    Great Resources…just ran across this post from your homepage. I wanted to mention that we sell Fair-Trade items (including Equal Exchange – great products!) in our fundraising program along with eco-friendly and organic items.
    People love being able to buy something that is very healthy and socially responsible while supporting their child’s school.

  9. Carrie March 10, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    Aww…I was expecting a full list, not just food types! Still, thank you for the list. I think I can see your sentiment. All it takes is some fair trade purchases, and you will be contributing to the greater good. I need to give credit to my fair trade coffee of choice, because along with doing right by their coffee choices, they really do right by the world and their customers. It’s sad that it can be so hard to get on board with the ethos of so many businesses, but when I can, I tend to stay on board for the long haul!

  10. Fair Trade Coffee March 10, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    I am a lot like Carrie in this regard. I can be fiercely loyal with my product selections, but only when it is merited. I think a lot of these fair trade companies certainly demand our respect, and our repeat business.

  11. Diane MacEachern March 17, 2010 at 6:32 pm #

    Carrie, If you have suggestions for other Free Trade items to include here, please let me know what they are. I’d appreciate your input.

  12. Gordon Brown August 30, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    I support fair trade wine from the Coop………:o) it’s tasty and on the same price level as everyother wine, so why wouldn’t support it? keep up the great work

  13. Jerry Stevens August 21, 2012 at 1:09 am #

    Fair trade bananas! I love me some ‘nanners!

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