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Cassandra Clifford
Executive Director and Founder of BTFF

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Conscious Consumer this October for Fair Trade Month

The month of October is TransFair USA’s Fair Trade Month, and the 2011 theme is “Every Purchase Matters”.  The goal behind this years theme is to stress and illustrate how individuals can get involved with Fair Trade and what impact that can have on farmers and laborers across the globe. The month of October is dedicated to increasing consumer awareness of what Fair Trade means and what certified products are available, how to find them, and what impact they have locally and globally.  The global impact can be felt as we begin to remove harmful child labor practices and slavery from the supply chain.  Locally the impact can be done at the checkout, or buy working to increase the number of Fair Trade towns across the country.

What is Fair Trade?
The Fair Trade label is applied to many types of food stuffs, which have high levels of exploitation, such as coffee, sugar, tea, cocoa, nuts, herbs, produce, etc.  Fair Trade labeling also occurs on other consumer products, such as sports balls, clothing, rugs, etc. Fair Trade Certification empowers workers and communities to lift themselves out of poverty by investing in their farms/businesses and communities, protecting the environment, and developing the business skills necessary to compete in the global marketplace.  Fair Trade is much more than a fair price, it enables safe working conditions, living wages for workers, prohibits forced child labor and slavery, is environmental sustainable, and prompts community development.
What is Fair Trade Certification?
For a product to be considered a Fair Trade, it has to be certified through an audit system, which ensures that all of the Fair Trade principles are met in the production, sale, and distribution of the item. The Fair Trade label is applied to products that pass this certification system.  However please note that just because a product does not carry the label, it does not mean that it is not Fair Trade, as many smaller co-ops and others have not yet been able to afford the certification.  Nonetheless do not let this put you off, being a conscious consumer and knowing where your products come from is always a better way forward for everyone, so don't be afraid to investigate and do some research.  There are sites like Fair Trade Proof.org and the list on Fair Trade USA will help you find brands that sell Fair Trade Certified products to help you get started.

What Can You Do?

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