A FAIR TRADE MOTHER’S DAY
Mother’s Day is this Sunday May 9th, and interestingly enough, World Fair Trade Day is May 8th. The coincidence of dates creates a great opportunity for us to honour our mothers and mothers around the world by thinking about where the gifts we choose were made. It’s fairly easy to find an especially meaningful gift, there are events all over the world that create opportunities for everyone to get involved in the economic empowerment of people living in poverty.
If you are in the market for a Mother’s Day gift and would like to support this global initiative take a look at Ten Thousand Villages, World of Good, NationWares, or yes even ZOË Alliance to name a few reputable organizations. I’m sure the producers in the villages would appreciate your support!
WHAT IS FAIR TRADE?
Fair Trade is a concept that has been well defined, and the principles are summarized below for those that are just becoming familiar with this area. There are 10 standards established and adhered to by the Fair Trade community. This is a good week to revisit them, taken from the World Fair Trade Day website, they are as follows:
• Creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers : Fair Trade is a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Its purpose is to create opportunities for producers who have been economically disadvantaged or marginalized by the conventional trading system.
• Transparency and accountability : Fair Trade involves transparent management and commercial relations to deal fairly and respectfully with trading partners.
• Capacity building : Fair Trade is a means to develop producers’ independence. Fair Trade relationships provide continuity, during which producers and their marketing organizations can improve their management skills and their access to new markets.
• Promoting Fair Trade : Fair Trade Organisations raise awareness of Fair Trade and the possibility of greater justice in world trade. They provide their customers with information about the organization, the products, and in what conditions they are made. They use honest advertising and marketing techniques and aim for the highest standards in product quality and packing.
• Payment of a fair price : A fair price in the regional or local context is one that has been agreed through dialogue and participation. It covers not only the costs of production but enables production which is socially just and environmentally sound. It provides fair pay to the producers and takes into account the principle of equal pay for equal work by women and men. Fair Traders ensure prompt payment to their partners and, whenever possible, help producers with access to pre-harvest or pre-production financing.
• Gender Equity : Fair Trade means that women’s work is properly valued and rewarded. Women are always paid for their contribution to the production process and are empowered in their organizations.
• Working conditions : Fair Trade means a safe and healthy working environment for producers. The participation of children (if any) does not adversely affect their well-being, security, educational requirements and need for play and conforms to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as the law and norms in the local context.
• Child Labour : Fair Trade Organizations respect the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as local laws and social norms in order to ensure that the participation of children in production processes of fairly traded articles (if any) does not adversely affect their well-being, security, educational requirements and need for play. Organizations working directly with informally organised producers disclose the involvement of children in production.
• The environment : Fair Trade actively encourages better environmental practices and the application of responsible methods of production.
• Trade Relations : Fair Trade Organizations trade with concern for the social, economic and environmental well-being of marginalized small producers and do not maximise profit at their expense. They maintain long-term relationships based on solidarity, trust and mutual respect that contribute to the promotion and growth of Fair Trade. An interest free pre payment of at least 50% is made if requested.