So you’re ready to make a difference with your shopping. Do you wonder how to find Fair Trade products? We can help! Read on to learn more.
As a movement, Fair Trade has grown exponentially in the past few years. Because of the rise in easy access to information, journalists and researchers are reporting to us the conditions that global women face (as well as men), and we have a better picture of what our choices mean.
If we continue to choose goods made in factories without labor regulations, artisans and workers are mistreated and we perpetuate that system. Surely something more can be done.
For many shoppers who also want to make the world a better place, this means that our shopping is reflecting our values more and more. After we learn about a problem in working conditions or oppressive systems, we have realized that our dollars have the power to do something about it.
You have the power to choose to shop Fair Trade. You can empower women who are talented and simply need opportunity for a fair and living wage. Here are several ways to find Fair Trade products.
Check Those Labels – is it Certified Fair Trade?
You can find Fair Trade products by checking product packages for a certification symbol. Similar to an Organic or Kosher certification, there are various organizations that provide certification labels when a company has complied with their criteria for Fair Trade.
At its core, each Fair Trade certifier set out to empower global workers, farmers, and artisans with wages that are fair for their community and ensure safe working conditions. Each goes about this in a different way, so their criteria may vary.
The Fair World Project has provided a helpful guide to learn about the various certifiers and their criteria. There is some disagreement between certifers, but you can also see which concepts they have in common.
There are several things to consider as you learn about certifiers. Some require that artisans are working in a worker-owned cooperative, with a vote and a voice in all company decisions.
Others have chosen to add a premium to the price of their goods, and the workers vote on projects to improve their community – for example: schools, clean water, or healthcare needs.
Local Retail Stores
Fair Trade products have a lot in common with healthy and Organic products – including care for the environment and consideration of sourcing. This means that health food stores, food co-ops, or the health food section at a grocery store are often good places to find Fair Trade products.
In the store, you can check products you like for a Fair Trade label, or ask a salesperson to direct you. Common Fair Trade products in local stores might include coffee, chocolate, bananas, avocados, shopping bags and baskets, and handmade art.
If your store doesn’t have Fair Trade options, ask them! Retailers are interested in what their customers want, and with enough requests over time, you may be able to change some of the options. If the staff has not heard of Fair Trade, this is also an opportunity to introduce them to the concept and spread the word about the great impact possible with shopping Fair Trade.
We Have Great Clothing and Gifts From Around the World
It’s our passion to help global women who are working hard to provide for their families and to achieve financial independence. You join this effort each time you make a purchase. Because of you, we can continue to do this work and help even more artisans. Thank you!
Other Online Sources
If you cannot find what you need from our online store, there are some other options online. Here are a few of our favorites:
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Unfortunately, there are some cautions when you find Fair Trade products. No matter who you purchase from, it’s important to understand the terms that a company uses. Some have adopted fair trade language because it is trendy, but their products are not actually following fair standards.
When someone claims a product is “fair trade,” ask them what that means.
Fair Trade companies should be able to explain HOW workers are paid fairly and treated well, child laborers are protected, and the environment is cared for. They should also be able to tell you who certifies their products.
Some companies have created a Direct Trade system, where they maintain a relationship with the artisans and workers directly without using a certifier. This is a fantastic model, but business practices must be transparent and the relationship maintained over time.
As you can see, Fair and Direct Trade only really works when a buyer commits to purchase long-term from the producers. If someone tells you they use Direct Trade or they self-certify their Fair Trade goods (some retailers claim this), this is an opportunity to ask even more questions.
Join Us -- You Can Do It!
Since it can be difficult to find Fair Trade products, we started our online Fair Trade store to showcase beautiful products that make a difference in the lives of global artisans. You can find clothing, handcrafted jewelry, home décor, and handmade gifts from around the world at the tip of your fingers.
If you go searching in local stores, learning how to find Fair Trade products and understanding what certification means can take some time, but the payoff is extremely worthwhile.
Fair Trade means you get a great product, and you make a difference in the lives of women around the world. Thank you for joining us on this journey!