Natural Products Expo East (Baltimore) and FAIR TRADE Labeling: What Does Fair Trade Mean?
We were happy to explore the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore this past weekend and are excitedly working on posts that feature some of the awesome products we discovered during our tour. We are happy to announce we will soon be carrying lots of new products and some products EXCLUSIVELY sold by us, green.
Now, for the main information. We try to source as much fair trade inventory as possible, but do you know exactly what the "fair trade label" means?
According to the World Fair Trade Organization,
"Fair Trade is a trading partnership... that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South.
"Fair Trade organisations have a clear commitment to Fair Trade as the principal core of their mission. They... are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade."
Fair Trade certifications are commonly found on items such as coffee, chocolate, spices, clothing, and other products. The label can be found on just about anything these days.
In a nutshell, Fair Trade helps:
Fight child labor
Fight climate change and support sustainability
Push gender equality
Defend workers' rights
Much like "organic" labeling, there are a few different Fair Trade labels around the world. Fair Trade companies are measured by third-party auditors and certifiers and by member organizations. Some certification labels are believed to be stronger and more reputable than others, but ANY fair trade label is still an improvement over traditional practices.
Fair World Project (whose mission in part is to "build a just economy that benefits and empowers all people especially those traditionally marginalized in our current system, including family-scale farmers, small-scale artisans, and food and apparel workers") declares the following as "the strong fair trade labels that are third-party certified that benefit farmers in the Global South:"
Fair for Life
The Fair Trade System
Small Producers' Symbol (SPS)
They also list the following as "the strong worker justice or fair farmer labels that benefit small-scale farmers in the Global North and/or farmworkers in any region. These labels complement traditional fair trade labels:"
Food Justice Certified [and Agricultural Justice Project (AJP)]
Fair Food Program
Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured [and Equitable Food Initiative (EFI)]