About Fair Trade | Fair Trade Myths
About Fair Trade
Content courtesy of the Fair Trade Federation
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is an economic partnership based on dialogue, transparency, and respect.
This system of exchange seeks to create greater equity and partnership in the international trading system by:
- Creating Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers
- Developing Transparent and Accountable Relationships
- Building Capacity
- Promoting Fair Trade
- Paying Promptly and Fairly
- Supporting Safe and Empowering Working Conditions
- Ensuring the Rights of Children
- Cultivating Environmental Stewardship
- Respecting Cultural Identity
FTF members foster partnerships with producers, because they know these connections are a highly effective way to help producers help themselves. To learn more about how these Principles live in practice, visit our Case Study Gallery.
Fair trade is not about charity. It is a holistic approach to trade and development that aims to alter the ways in which commerce is conducted, so that trade can empower the poorest of the poor. Fair Trade Organizations seek to create sustainable and positive change in developing and developed countries.
What Does This Mean?
To better understand how these principles live in practice, visit FairTradePrinciples.org and consult the Fair Trade Federation Code of Practice to understand how retailers, wholesalers of handmade goods, wholesalers of agricultural-based goods, and cafes live these nine Principles.
Fair trade traces its roots to 1946 when Edna Ruth Byler, a volunteer for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), visited an MCC sewing class in Puerto Rico where she discovered the talent the women had for creating beautiful lace and the extraordinary poverty in which they lived despite their hard work. She began carrying these pieces back to the United States to sell and returning the money back to these groups directly. Her work grew into Ten Thousand Villages, which opened its first fair trade shop in 1958 and is now the largest fair trade retailer in North America. In 1949, Sales Exchange for Refugee Rehabilitation and Vocation (SERRV International) began helping refugees in Europe recover from World War II. Today, they support artisans in more than 35 countries.
In the late 1970s, US- and Canadian-based entrepreneurs who defined their businesses with the producers at heart began to meet regularly, exchange ideas, and network. This informal group would evolve into the Fair Trade Federation and formally incorporate in 1994. In 1989, the World Fair Trade Organization (formerly IFAT) was founded as a global network of committed fair trade organizations, aiming to improve the livelihoods of disadvantaged people through trade and to provide a forum for the exchange of information and ideas.
In 1988, as world coffee prices began to sharply decline, a Dutch NGO, Solidaridad, a farmer organization, UCIRI, created the first fair trade certification initiative. Named after a best-selling 19th century book, the Max Havelaar label initially applied only to coffee in the Netherlands, but similar labeling initiatives grew up independently across Europe within a few years. In 1997, these organizations created Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO), an umbrella organization which sets the fair trade certification standards and supports, inspects, and certifies disadvantaged farmers. In 1997, FLO affiliate TransFair Canada opened, followed soon after by TransFair USA in 1999.
Since 2000, fair trade sales and consumer awareness have increased tremendously, as the range of fair trade products has also expanded. From the early days of lace and home décor, handmade items now include clothing, sports equipment, toys, and other items. From its initial focus on coffee, fair trade product certification has expanded to tea, chocolate, sugar, vanilla, fruit, wine, and much more. In 2002, the first World Fair Trade Day was celebrated to heighten consumer awareness and to strengthen connections among fair traders and interested citizens around the globe. In 2006, IFAT reported that total fair trade sales topped $2.6 billion.
From its early days in Pennsylvania, fair trade continues to move forward across the globe, because of the efforts of consumers, entrepreneurs, non-governmental organizations, and other communities.
For More Information About Fair Trade:
Fair Trade Federation: About Fair Trade
Fair Trade Resource Network: Fair Trade Q & A
Global Exchange: Our Fair Trade Campaigns
Myths about Fair Trade
Content courtesy of the Fair Trade Federation
As awareness of fair trade grows, so do many misconceptions about fair trade.
Below are some popular myths about fair trade and the realities behind them.
Myth: Fair Trade is about paying developed world wages in the developing world.
Reality: Fair wages are determined by a number of factors, including the amount of time, skill, and effort involved in production, minimum and living wages in the local context, the purchasing power in a community or area, and other costs of living in the local context. Wages are determined independently from North American wage structures and are designed to provide fair compensation based on the true cost of production.
Myth: Fair Trade siphons off American jobs to other countries.
Reality: Fair trade seeks to change the lives of the poorest of the poor who frequently lack alternative sources of income. As North American fair trade organizations grow, they employ more and more individuals in their communities. Most fair trade craft products stem from cultures and traditions which are not represented in North American production. Most fair trade commodities, such as coffee and cocoa, do not have North American-based alternatives.
Myth: Fair Trade is anti-globalization.
Reality: International exchange lies at the heart of fair trade. Fair trade organizations seek to maximize the positive elements of globalization that connect people, communities, and cultures through products and ideas. At the same time, they seek to minimize the negative elements that result in lower labor, social, and environmental standards which hide the true costs of production.
Myth: Fair Trade is a form of charity.
Reality: Fair trade promotes positive and long-term change through trade-based relationships which seek to empower producers to meet their own needs. Its success depends on independent, successfully-run organizations and businesses - not on handouts. While many fair trade organizations support charitable projects on top of their work in trade, the exchange of goods remains the key element of their work.
Myth: Fair Trade results in more expensive goods for the consumer.
Reality: Most fair trade products are competitively priced in relation to their conventional counterparts. Fair trade organizations work directly with producers, cutting out exploitative middlemen, so they can keep products affordable for consumers and return a greater percentage of the price to the producers.
Myth: Fair trade production results in substandard goods for the consumer as compared to conventional production.
Reality: While handmade products naturally include some variation, fair trade organizations continuously work with their producer partners to improve quality and consistency. Through direct and long-term relationships, producers and fair trade organizations dialogue about consumer needs and create high quality products. Fair traders have received awards at the international Cup of Excellence competitions, the New York Home Textile Show, and other venues.
Myth: Fair trade refers only to coffee.
Reality: Fair trade encompass a wide variety of agricultural and handcrafted goods, including baskets, clothing, cotton, footballs, furniture, jewelry, rice, toys, and wine. While coffee was the first agricultural product to be certified fair trade in 1988, fair trade handicrafts have been on sale since 1946.
July 31st, 2014
July 28th, 2014
I am proud to be among eleven Eastern Panhandle residents that will speak at tomorrow's Public Hearing on the EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan! More than thirty residents will attend from West Virginia!
I am awed by the work of the amazing volunteers who joined together to plan this and am excited to hear what the speakers have to say. From high school students to those employed by solar energy to energy efficiency volunteers to seniors to mothers -- tomorrow's going to be great!
It's through organized and active communities that we can cut pollution and build renewable energy.
If you see this and have a last minute inspiration to join our bus, we're leaving from the Winchester Ave Food Lion parking lot in Martinsburg at 6:30 AM and the Charles Town Food Lion parking lot on 340 at 7:00 AM. Hope to see you there!!
July 28th, 2014
Eid Mubarak! May peace prevail.Timeline Photos
Eid Mubarak to all our Muslim friends and customers around the world...we wish you all a very happy and peaceful Eid, and hopefully next year, it will be a more calm and peaceful Eid for our people in #Gaza.
July 25th, 2014
If you've already got your tickets and you haven't found your identity yet or you just want to have fun and love to play dress up stop by the Shepherdstown Train Station tonight from 5pm to 8:30pm! Free and Fun!Timeline Photos
This Friday...at the @[125780937480058:274:Shepherdstown Train Station] from 5pm to 8:30pm. Come play dress up, put some red lipstick on, get a photo taken, find your new Identity and maybe buy a thing or two? SALE AND PHOTO SHOOT for the @[555742384467084:274:Identity Crisis Fundraiser]! firstname.lastname@example.org contact me with questions or if you are interested in taking photos, selling your wares or doing some eyes or lips! FREE EVENT. https://www.facebook.com/events/252645121600735/252646681600579/?notif_t=event_mall_reply — with Elise Baach and 24 others.
July 25th, 2014
If you haven't gotten your tickets to Shepherdstown's Big Event...
it's not too late! Timeline Photos
Identity Crisis was started as a social event 5 years ago and it has grown into a community fundraiser that brings hundreds to Shepherdstown. It is a celebration of life, a menagerie of creativity and a banding together of individuals, businesses and organizations for charity. Although, not strictly a breast cancer fundraiser, this will be the third year that we have chosen Breast Cancer Awareness-Cumberland Valley to raise money for.
Each year when we meet with BCA-CV, our passion to help them make a difference is reenergized. All three of the staff are breast cancer survivors and extremely dedicated and connected to the cause. All programs are free and the support system that is offered is astounding. The organization offers hope, understanding, support, human compassion and a wonderful group of peers who have gone through or are going through similar situations.
BCA-CV serves Washington and Frederick counties in Maryland, Franklin and Fulton counties in Pennsylvania, and Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia and Winchester, Virginia areas. For more information contact Janet Lung, executive director, Breast Cancer Awareness- Cumberland Valley 322 East Antietam St., Suite 101 Hagerstown, MD 21740 or call 301-791-5843 or 800-963-0101.
Learn more online at Facebook page Breast Cancer Awareness Cumberland Valley.
To explain how to be a participant of Identity Crisis is simple and complex simultaneously. The first thing to remember about Identity Crisis is that there are loose guidelines, but no rules. This year, the theme is MUSIC: A Trip in Time.
So, rock and roll stars, right? Well, not that simple. Music is a complex subject, you know? If you were going to research music, ask yourself, What is music? You might go back to where and when music might have originated. Funny, right? Caveman time? Or perhaps you are a theologian? Perhaps it is from Grecian origin?
Then you might also ask yourself what is music? Well, there are so many genres and types it can make your head spin. And how is music made? Finally, we get to who because you are challenged to dress up as a character/IDENTITY from past, present or future that is music inspired.
So, yes, there is rock n roll, but there are musicians, bands and groups, even a slimy, money grubbing manager? A behind the door groupie perhaps? A record label owner or paparazzi or even a roadie? And don't even get me started on broadway musicals and movie dance scenes . . . the idea here is to be creative, but mostly come out and support the event. You may even want to try your first year just spectating?
The event begins at 8pm Saturday, August 9. Throughout the evening there will be drink specials, dancing and general fun & folly in the six venues participating in Shepherdstown. The town will be lit up and will be sure to be fun. If you are interested in raising awareness and funds for breast cancer and want to have fun, come on out to Shepherdstown for the Identity Crisis Fundraiser. Funds are raised through donations from venues, percentage of sales, door covers, ticket sales for our own Club Crisis, corporate sponsorship and individual donations.
Checks can be made to BCA-CV for taxable donation. https://www.facebook.com/ IdentityCrisisWV and Visit www.identitycrisiswv.com for more information.
Please email email@example.com if you want to be an individual or corporate sponsor and get your business name in lights as a supporter of this popular event. And please reach out via email, fb page or 304-283-8300 with any questions.