And about time too! More and more suppliers and retailers are adopting a Fair Trade attitude and are increasing the range and quantity of Fairly Traded items that they stock.
While the Fairtrade mark tells you that a product has met a specific international standard, 'Fair Trade' (two words) is used to refer to the Fair Trade movement as a whole and can describe both labelled and unlabelled goods. Fair Trade producers belong to the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) and companies can confidently enter into trading partnerships with them knowing they have applied the WFTO's 10 Principles of Fair Trade.
Fairtrade labelling (usually simply Fairtrade or Fair Trade Certified in the United States) is a certification system designed to allow consumers to identify goods which meet agreed standards. Overseen by a standard-setting body (FLO International) and a certification body (FLO-CERT), the system involves independent auditing of producers and traders to ensure the agreed standards are met.
The Fairtrade system was brought about to try and prevent the growers and producers of goods in Third World countries having their prices driven down to the point where they were becoming victims of exploitation. Buying products that carry the Fairtrade mark is your independent guarantee that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal. It means you can be confident that a fair price has been paid for your product and that producers have enough money to reinvest back into their communities.
Growers and producers in poorer parts of the world can get buyers to give them prices for their products which are sustainable and enable them to improve their own situation.
The only way to really get the Fairtrade system to work is to buy Fairtrade marked products whenever you can, especially when you know your products have come from poorer or developing countries. If the price of the item is cheaper compared to a Fairtrade product from the same country, chances are it’s because the buyer reduced the price given to the producer to an unsustainable level and therefore reduced the living quality of those involved in production.
Real Foods Fairtrade Filter
Our commitment to Fairtrade led to Real Foods being recognised as 'Best Fair Trade Achiever' at the 2012 Edinburgh Lord Provost Fair Trade Awards.
The success of the Fairtrade scheme means that we can now get a much wider range of FT badged products and believe it or not, it’s not just bananas!
Here are a few examples of some of the more unusual items that you can now buy
It’s worth bearing in mind though, the choice between buying Fairtrade and buying local. Buying Fairtrade products from the other side of the world, when you could buy locally produced items might not necessarily be good from the point of view of the environment and by purchasing local products you are still likely to be supporting a small producer trying to get established.
If you would like to know more about the Fairtrade system, visit the Fair Trade Foundation website at: www.fairtrade.org.uk
The Fairtrade Foundation have launched a campaign for this year's Fairtrade Fortnight (2014) requesting Vince Cable to take a look at the supermarkets' price wars, which have halved the cost of loose bananas despite them costing nearly twice as much to produce over the last 10 years. Follow this link for more information and to sign the petition.