Fair Trade

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Please note Fair Trade is now being complemented by Fair Tracing, Open Sourcing and Open Supply Chains.

URL = http://en.solecopedia.org/index.php?title=Fair_trade


Definition

1.

"Fair Trade is an alternative system of international trade that is based on principles of economic justice and environmental sustainability. Fair Trade is about giving farmers market access and a chance to benefit from globalization and giving consumers a chance to use their purchasing power to advocate for social and economic transformation.

According to the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT), "Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to and securing the rights of, marginalized workers and producers especially in the [Global] South. Fair Trade organizations, (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade." (http://fairtradenyc.org/why/index_why.php


2.

"Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, 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 Organizations, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade." (http://www.european-fair-trade-association.org/efta/Doc/What.pdf)


Description

"How Fair Trade Works:

Fair Trade means that farmers and workers:

• have long term relationships that guarantee a decent price for their harvest; • are organized into democratic cooperatives (coffee, some tea, cocoa, some fruit) or workers on larger farms who receive better wages and can bargain collectively (some tea, some fruit); • do not use abusive child labor; • incorporate environmentally sustainable farming methods; • coop members have access to affordable credit.

Companies are allowed to use the Fair Trade Certified label on coffee, chocolate, tea, and fruit if they agree to be audited by TransFair USA (the only Fair Trade Certification organization in the United States) for compliance with international Fair Trade standards. TransFair USA tracks the products through the supply chain to ensure the farmer got a fair price and the plantation worker got a higher wage." (http://fairtradenyc.org/why/index_why.php)


Principles

See the Charter of Fair Trade Principles at http://activistnotes.wordpress.com/2008/06/06/a-draft-charter-of-fair-trade-principles-flo-and-ifat/


Organizations

Solecopedia [1]:

For the links, see http://en.solecopedia.org/index.php?title=Fair_trade

"Most fair trade import organizations are members of, or certified by one of several national or international federations. These federations coordinate, promote, and facilitate the work of fair trade organizations.

The following are some of the largest:

  • The Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), created in 1997, is an association of three producer networks and twenty national labeling initiatives that promote and market the Fair trade Certification Mark in their countries. The FLO labeling system is the largest and most widely recognized standard setting and certification body for labeled Fair trade. It regularly inspects and certifies producer organizations in more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
  • The World Fair Trade Organization (formerly the International Fair Trade Association) is a global association created in 1989 of Fair trade producer cooperatives and associations, export marketing companies, importers, retailers, national, and regional fair trade networks and fair trade support organizations. In 2004 WFTO launched the FTO Mark which identifies registered Fair Trade Organizations (as opposed to the FLO system, which labels products).
  • The Network of European Worldshops (NEWS), created in 1994, is the umbrella network of 15 national Worldshop associations in 13 different countries all over Europe.
  • The European Fair Trade Association (EFTA), created in 1990, is a network of European alternative trading organizations which import products from some 400 economically disadvantaged producer groups in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. EFTA's goal is to promote fair trade and to make fair trade importing more efficient and effective. The organization also publishes yearly various publications on the evolution of the fair trade market. EFTA currently has eleven members in nine different countries.

In 1998, these four federations created together FINE, an informal association whose goal is to harmonize fair trade standards and guidelines, increase the quality and efficiency of fair trade monitoring systems, and advocate fair trade politically.

  • The Fair Trade Federation (FTF), created in 1994, is an association of Canadian and American fair trade wholesalers, importers, and retailers. The organization links its members to fair trade producer groups while acting as a clearinghouse for information on fair trade and providing resources and networking opportunities to its members.
  • The Fair Trade Action Network, created in 2007, is an international fair trade volunteer web-based network. The association links volunteers from a dozen of European and North American countries, actively supports Fairtrade Town initiatives and encourages grassroots networking at the international level."

(http://en.solecopedia.org/index.php?title=Fair_trade)


Discussion

Fair Trade and Peer to Peer Theory

Michel Bauwens:

Fair trade is of particular interest because it subjects the market to 'peer arbitrage'. Instead of letting the market be subjected to pure power plays, it injects a negotiating between partners. Fair trade organizations ideally go to the producers to ask them about the requirements of dignified living, then go to Western consumers, asking them for a surplus to fund these requirements.

Here's a quote from the editor of Just Things, Steve Herrick,


"At its core, the fair-trade model isn't about commodities at all, but an equitable, egalitarian and empowering way of dealing with each other as people. Economic transactions are secondary - they deal with mere things. On the other hand, we need things to live, and we have trade them back and forth. The trick is to trade things justly." (http://chlorophyll.us/, cited by Kevin Carson [2])


Is Fair Trade really fair?

See comment at http://silkroadmusings.wordpress.com/2009/07/06/is-fair-trade-really-fair-does-it-matter/


Fair Trade is not enough: we need Fair Tracing

See also: Open Supply Chains


Fair Trade is not enough: we need Ethical Trade

By the Ethical Trade Initiative:

"The Fair Trade movement aims to ensure that producers, typically growers of tea, coffee, cocoa and bananas, get a better deal from trade. Fair Trade products are independently certified to ensure that producers' organisations receive an agreed, stable price and that additional premiums are invested back into the farmers' organisations or the wider community.

While Fair Trade is a start, it is unlikely to deliver decent working conditions for workers. Trade unions would like to see workers empowered to monitor and improve their own terms and conditions, rather than leave it to outside certifiers who often only see a small part of the bigger picture. And instead of giving farmers a small premium on their products, trade unions want to see all workers in the supply chain for agricultural produce receive a living wage all of the time. So if you buy Fair Trade, make sure you also push companies to commit to ethical trade - a far more robust way of improving labour standards." (http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-17916-f0.cfm)

More Information

Journals

Just Things: The Fair Trade Journal of Applied Counter-Economics, at http://justthings.info/


Organizations

European Fair Trade Association

URL = http://www.eftafairtrade.org/


Fair Trade Online

Web Site of Transfair Canada. Ressources on Fair Trade. A presentation of the Fair Trade movement.

URL = http://www.transfair.ca/


Fair Trade Ressource Network

The Fair Trade Resource Network raises consumer awareness about improving people's lives through Fair Trade alternatives. USA based network.

URL = http://www.fairtraderesource.org/

Fair Trade Watch

Web site developped by the United Steelworkers of America to provide information on trade and the global economy from a worker prospective.

URL = http://www.fairtradewatch.org/


FLO

Web site of Fair Trade Labelling Organizations International

URL = http://www.fairtrade.net


IFAT - Internationial Federation of Alternative Trade

IFAT is the International Federation for Alternative Trade, a global network of 158 Fair Trade organisations in 50 countries, which works to improve the livelihoods and well-being of disadvantaged people in developing countries and to change the unfair structures of international trade.

URL = http://www.ifat.org/


NEWS! -Network of European World Shops

URL = http://www.worldshops.org/


Oxfam and Fair Trade

Fair Trade page and activities of the UK - based Oxfam organization.

URL = http://www.oxfam.org.uk/fair_trade.html


Tourism Concern

Tourism Concern is a membership organisation campaigning for ethical and fairly traded tourism.

URL = http://www.tourismconcern.org.uk/


Documentaries

One Cup, on fair trade and coffee