Fair Trade Matters
According to the Fair Trade Federation, fair trade is “an approach to business and to development based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks to create greater equity in the international trading system. Fair trade supports farmers and craftspeople in developing countries who are socially and economically marginalized. These producers often face steep hurdles in finding markets and customers for their goods.”
Fair trade is “a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency & respect, that seeks greater equality....” Fair trade is a step back into the past when business was conducted with conversation and a handshake. Fair trade craftspeople and farmers negotiate with international importers to produce a price that is fair for both parties. They take into consideration the costs of production, shipping, growth, and resale when establishing a wholesale price. Fair trade is business that is personal.
Fair trade “supports farmers and craftspeople in developing countries who are socially and economically marginalized.” Threads Worldwide works with craftspeople in over 15 countries in the global south - from India to Guatemala and Malawi to Bolivia. In all of these countries women and girls are routinely isolated, uneducated, kept out of the workplace, and sold into sexual or physical slavery. Artisan groups provide work with fair wages, socialization, education, and purpose for people who would otherwise be making less than $1/day.
“Producers often face steep hurdles in finding markets and customers for their goods.”In these marginalized regions, an over saturated market is a key reason why artisans have few growth opportunities. They lack places to sell and an abundance of similar merchandise. In becoming fair trade producers, typically working within co-ops and organizations, artisans have access to new markets, trend research as well as market analysis to help them create sellable goods as a collective. Fair trade vendors then are able to communicate directly with producers which alleviates communication barriers between producers and consumers and allows a transparent line of communication on challenges and successes within their relationships.
Fair trade organizations around the world are working to expand the fair trade marketplace. You can find fair trade goods locally at a variety of markets listed at www.ohiofairtrade.com and the One World Shop in Rocky River.
I am a fair trade advocate and vendor. I am a member of the Ohio Fair Trade Network and have traveled to several countries to meet with my artisan partners.