“Fair Trade Organic” Certified – What Does the Label Mean?

Fair Trade Organic can be defined as: “ a social movement whose stated goal is to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions and to promote sustainability.

Members of the movement advocate the payment of higher prices to exporters, as well as higher social and environmental standards.” according to Wikipedia. We are searching for that elusive Fair Trade Certified” label on the products we buy in order to support the things we care about. But what do all the different labels mean?

There is an abundance of different types of Organic Fair Trade”, “Fair Trade Proof”, “Equal Exchange”, “Fair for Life”, “Whole Trade”, “Fair Trade Federation”….the list goes on. My concern here is being able to define what being ‘Certified’ truly means when it comes to any product that is deemed “Fair Trade Organic”. The main idea behind these labels is to designate that these ‘items’ can be trusted. We see these labels on numerous products around us, especially in the grocery store. Hopefully it will be much more visible on our clothes in the near future, perhaps they will be ‘Trusted Clothes‘ Certified. 

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Fair Trade Labels.

Fair Trade Foundation (U.K.): Is certainly one of the most informative sites, specifically about what “Fair Trade” is, how it works, who and what it impacts, and so on. If you are looking to get the best understanding of the impact and power that Fair Trade has for its farmers and products, this is the site to read. Their mission is as follows:

 “Fair trade is a global movement with a strong and active presence in the UK, represented by the Fair trade Foundation. Fair trade is a movement for change that works directly with businesses, consumers and campaigners to make trade deliver for farmers and workers. The international Fair trade system (which the Fair trade Foundation is a part of) represents the world’s largest and most recognised fair trade system. We are a global organisation working to secure a better deal for farmers and workers. …Our hundreds of Fair trade towns, faith groups, schools and universities and  committed supporters are vital in helping us realise our vision of fair trade. The Foundation works to the definition of Fair Trade agreed by FINE, a working group of the four international Fair Trade networks (Fair trade Labelling Organisations International, International Fair Trade Association, Network of European World Shops and the European Fair Trade Association): 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, marginalised producers and workers – especially in the South. (Who We Are | Fair trade Foundation. Who We Are | Fair trade Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2016.)

Fair Trade USA: This is the most popular label that I come across when shopping just about anywhere, and I love coffee. Their ‘Fair Trade’ mission is as stated:

“We seek to empower family farmers and workers around the world, while enriching the lives of those struggling in poverty. Rather than creating dependency on aid, we use a market-based approach that empowers farmers to get a fair price for their harvest, helps workers create safe working conditions, provides a decent living wage and guarantees the right to organize. Through direct, equitable trade, farming and working families are able to eat better, keep their kids in school, improve health and housing, and invest in the future. Keeping families, local economies, the natural environment, and the larger community strong today and for generations to come; these are the results we seek through Fair Trade.” (Fair Trade USA. About. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2016.)

F.S.C. – Forest Stewardship Council: I have come across this label quite often, as I am a bit of a handy person, but I still had no idea what it was about. The FSC’s mission is as stated:

“The Forest Stewardship Council mission is to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests. 
Our vision is that we can meet our current needs for forest products without compromising the health of the world’s forests for future generations.” (Mission and Vision. FSC United States. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2016.)

Equal Exchange: This is a newly discovered label to me, I have not come across it anywhere else, other than Google. Here are their standards:

“Fair Trade is a way of doing business that ultimately aims to keep small farmers an active part of the world marketplace, and aims to empower consumers to make purchases that support their values. Fair Trade is a set of business practices voluntarily adopted by the producers and buyers of agricultural commodities and hand-made crafts that are designed to advance many economic, social and environmental goals.” (Fair Trade. Equal Exchange. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2016.) 

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Always look for the Fair Trade Certified labels!

These are only a few of the many labels on the market, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about what these organizations do concerning “Fair Trade”. If anyone would like to contribute and further information, we are always happy to post and share! All are welcome.

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One thought on ““Fair Trade Organic” Certified – What Does the Label Mean?

  1. I was told by a Mexican who works kn a bank in Mexico that the farmers sre splicing coffee with coca t o mke coffee very addictive. Can you jnvestigate?

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