Fair Trade (not to be confused with free trade!) is incredibly important to us. If you've followed our journey at all in the past 25 years, you have come across some rant or rave about our thoughts on Fair Trade. Seeing that Saturday is World Fair Trade Day, we want to take this opportunity to explain, again, our committment to Fair Trade, but particularly our connection with the concept of 360° Fair Trade, and the Fair Trade Federation.
We are members of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF), which is a community of businesses dedicated to 360° Fair Trade. This means we work with small farmers in partnerships built on trust, for all those involved in the chain. It means good wages, safe working conditions, environmental responsibility, mutual respect and more.
To us, Fair Trade is so much more than simply paying the right price - it's called a Fair Trade Minimum price for a reason. Anyone can do/pay the minimum and market themselves has a Fair Trade Hero. But to belong to the FTF, you need to prove you are reaching for the maximum. There are nine principles we live by (listed below), and all members need to exhaustively re-new their membership annually to prove they are STILL doing the most they can.
In addition to the intense renewal application, we also get our Fair Trade practices independently audited every year, just so we can show we are still walking the Fair Trade walk.
Please read these 9 principles. BUT, we need to create a 10th principle - EDUCATION. If you agree with how we and FTF members do business, share this widely! Talk about Fair Trade with your friends, family, coworkers. Be that preachy friend at the table who asks if the sugar is Fair Trade! Ask (nay, demand!) your favorite shops/businesses/companies to carry Fair Trade products. And it's so much more than coffee - just check out the Fair Trade product guide.
When you choose authentic fair trade goods, your purchase casts a vote for small-scale farmers, producers, and artisans around the world. Join us, and #livefair.
Here are some articles from the archives about our journey with Fair Trade:
From our own Blog, from 2011: Farewell to Fair Trade Certified?