For a lot of years, "Fair Trade" was just synonymous with coffee. It was the only product most people could identify as fair trade, and the only thing known about fair trade was that the farmers were supposed to be treated more fairly. Part of what we've been doing through our years at The Intersection is to bring a more holistic understanding to fair trade, and to bring a much wider variety of fair trade and ethically sourced products to the market.
Fair trade has a number of principles that govern it, that determine if a product or group is certified as "fair trade." These principles can be found on the websites of the World Fair Trade Organization here , or the Fair Trade Federation here. There's a lot of information there, and it is worth reading, but the short version of it is this: fair trade protects the rights and working conditions of workers, it ensures fair opportunities, it ensures fair wages, it protects the environment, and it makes sure no children are made to work. Fair Trade also pays a premium into the communities that the producers work in, so that the community also benefits.
We love the principles that uphold fair trade, and that protect workers and their families around the world. Our hope and our dream is that one day there will be fair trade products available in place of all products on the market. There is so much oppression and slavery that occurs in our world as we pursue cheaper, faster goods, with little to no thought of the effects on producers around the world.
While we have embraced Fair Trade certified products and groups from the beginning, we also have partnered with groups who embody the principles of fair trade, but are inhibited from being certified by cost or availability or the remote nature of their locations. There are a lot of incredible groups out there who are treating their workers and their communities fairly, who are just in need of a market for their goods. A lot of our anti-trafficking partners who are providing jobs to the survivors they are working with fall into this category.
The Fair Trade certification really means something. and we encourage you to look for products and alternatives with fair trade marks on them, so that you know that you are supporting good in the world.