What is fair trade ?
An alternative to global trading with a humane purpose
Fair trade is an alternative trading practice with a humane purpose: to help family farmers in developing countries gain direct access to international markets, as well as to develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global marketplace.
A better economic future for small-scale farmers and their families
By learning how to market their own harvests through cooperatives, small-scale farmers are able to slowly grow their own businesses and receive a fair price for their products. The fair trade certification is a guarantee that farmers receive a fair price. This leads to higher family living standards, thriving communities and more sustainable farming practices.
A means of preserving sustainable farming methods
Fair trading companies from around the world buy direct from farmers. Because advance credit and guaranteed prices are provided, these farmers get a bit of room to breathe. They don't have to sacrifice everything to maximize coffee production. They don't have to rely solely on coffee for an income. And because they don't clear-cut their land, they are able grow alternative cash crops or subsistence crops alongside coffee trees. In short, they can farm in a way that preserves the land for future generations, that is healthy for their families and communities, and that protects local and migratory birds.
Guiding principles of fair trade
- To provide growers with direct access to coffee markets by working through grower cooperatives, avoiding middlemen and speculators
- To pay a fair price to growers that covers the cost of production and leaves a margin for investment purposes
- To establish long-term, equitable relationships with all fair trade partners
- To ensure communities benefiting from fair trade revenue play an active role in their own development
- To promote social, environmental, economic justice in all fair trade activities
(Source: Fair Trade Yearbook, Towards 2000)
Bridgehead and fair trade
Bridgehead is part of an international movement of fair trade distributors and small-scale producers committed to offering consumers superior quality products; educating consumers about the unequal wealth distribution that pervades our global trading system; and ensuring that alternative trading practices promote social, economic and environmental justice. Since 1981, Bridgehead has followed international fair trade principles and has selected partners that are committed to them.
We also offer an independent guarantee of fair trading practices to our customers – monitoring by TransFair Canada. TransFair is the recognized Canadian body that audits member business transactions to ensure that the international fair trade criteria have been honoured. The TransFair logo is your assurance that the coffee was purchased from cooperatives of small-scale growers who received a fair price. For tea growers, it means that fair wages, and social and environmental standards were in place, and additional funds for local community development were provided.
If you have questions about our fair trade practices, please write us at email@example.com.
Fair trade organizations and resources
TransFair is Canada's certification organization for fair trade coffee, tea, cocoa and sugar. The fair trade certified logo is an independent certification that adheres to monitoring criteria and standards set out by the Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO). The TransFair Canada logo guarantees consumers that their coffee, tea, cocoa and sugar originates from FLO monitored producers in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (F L O) [www.fairtrade.net]
FLO is the worldwide Fairtrade Standard setting and Certification organization. It permits more than 800,000 producers, workers and their dependants in more than 45 countries to benefit from labelled Fairtrade. FLO guarantees that products sold anywhere in the world with a Fairtrade label marketed by a National Initiative conforms to Fairtrade Standards and contributes to the development of disadvantaged producers.
European Fair Trade Association (EFTA) [www.eftafairtrade.org]
The European Fair Trade Association (EFTA) is a network of 11 Fair Trade organizations in nine European countries which import Fair Trade products from some 400 economically disadvantaged producer groups in Africa, Asia and Latin America. EFTA's members are based in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Their core activities are to make Fair Trade importing more efficient and effective and to promote fair trade among commercial and political decision-makers.
EFTA publishes very helpful fair trade resources including the, “Fair Trade Yearbook: Challenges of Fair Trade 2001/2003”.
International Fair Trade Association (IFAT), the global network of Fair Trade Organizations (FTOs) [www.ifat.org]
Established in 1989, IFAT is composed of over 200 members in 55 countries and is growing steadily. Truly international, IFAT's members come from countries across Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, North America, Australasia and the Pacific Rim.
IFAT's members are producer co-operatives and associations, export marketing companies, importers, retailers, national and regional Fair Trade networks and financial institutions, dedicated to the Fair Trade movement. In short, the IFAT network represents the whole Fair Trade chain from product to sale.
IFAT's mission is to improve the livelihoods and well being of disadvantaged producers by linking and promoting Fair Trade Organizations, and speaking out for greater justice in world trade. FTA publishes a variety of materials on Fair Trade issues in general such as "The Challenge of Fair Trade"; "Facts and Figures on the Fair Trade sector in 18 European Countries"; EFTA Advocacy Newsletter and a variety of product specific newsletters, studies and positions.
Oxfam Canada [www.oxfam.ca]
Founded in 1963, Oxfam Canada is a non-profit international development organization that supports community programs in food security, health, nutrition and democratic development with an emphasis on working with women. We are a member-based organization. Members help to formulate our direction, participate in governing bodies and elect representatives to the Board of Directors.
Oxfam Canada is one of the 12 Oxfam organizations around the world that form Oxfam International. Together we are working to tackle the root causes of poverty, social injustice and inequality.
Oxfam Canada is an international development agency committed to the equitable distribution of wealth and power through fundamental social change. We work in relationships of solidarity and partnership to eradicate poverty, underdevelopment and powerlessness. Oxfam Canada is engaged in a development process which recognizes the imperative of social justice, a sustainable environment and the equality of all people.
Équiterre (from the French words for equity and earth) is a Canadian not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting ecological, socially just choices through action, education and research from a standpoint that embraces social justice, economic solidarity and the defence of the environment.
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