The first time that I heard about fair trade, I was standing in a convention center in St. Louis, MO. I had no idea what it meant, but an announcement to all the people who were in the convention center attending the ELCA’s National Youth Gathering that takes place every three years asked the people to buy fair trade coffee. I had no idea what fair trade meant. I asked a few people and all they said was that it cost more money than other products.
Later, I learned more about fair trade. I also learned that it isn’t always more expensive than other products. When the products are more expensive than other products, it is for a good reason being that fair trade does not allow slave labor to be used to produce products. This way, people in all of the production processes are treated fairly.
Even though these are all good things, sometimes people are still not persuaded to buy fair trade products. It is understandable if they are not something that is liked. However, there are many good reasons to buy fair trade products.
Help Plantation Workers Get Fair Pay
Most plantation workers are slaves or get very little money for their work. When you buy fair trade, the money goes to farmers and other workers who get a fair wage for their work so they can easily live and support their families.
Help Develop Communities
Buying fair trade products helps develop communities. Money goes to a community bank account. The money is managed by a cooperative (also known as a “joint body”). The money may go to help create better schools, help create better working conditions, buy school supplies, buy office supplies, or start pension funds. These are only a few good things that money from buying fair trade products provides.
Challenge Big Companies
Big companies are located around the world. We all use them at times. However, it is not always necessary. By buying Fair Trade products, the middle men that are often used in production for big companies are not used. This means that the money goes directly to the farmers and the workers instead of being spread out among people who do not truly help to get the product to the shelf, but instead reduce the wages of the people who actually work.
Protect People and the Environment
Big businesses often use processes that are not natural and that use harmful chemical and pesticides in growing fruits, coffee beans, and cacao beans. Fair Trade growers do not use these processes and chemicals. This makes the working environment safe and it also makes the food safe for consumers.
In many countries where cacao beans and bananas are grown, children under the age of 12 are forced to work long hours with little to no pay. The law is that children age 12 or over can work limited hours as long as it does not interfere with their welfare or eduction. Big companies often break these laws and nothing is done about it. Fair Trade follows these laws and makes sure children are in good health and not abused or trafficked.
Litvinoff, M., & Madeley, J. (n.d.). 10 Reasons to Buy Fair Trade. 10 Reasons to Buy Fair Trade . Retrieved January 24, 2012, from http://clients.squareeye.net/uploads/global/resources/10_Reasons_to_Buy_Fair_Trade.pdf