When purchasing a new product, you might have recently seen a label applied to the front of the item stating “Fair Trade.” This is an important bit of information to know about, when reading the labels. You might find the product is a bit more expensive than the other options that do not have the fair trade label printed on the item, but there is good reason behind this. The fair trade sticker informs you that all parties involved with the purchase and creation of the product were all paid fairly, without one group in the manufacturing processing losing out on the money.
Most items you purchase, such as coffee, tea and other items from third world countries, are produced for pennies. Individuals work in farms for next to nothing. This is not fair to them, as they are making nothing, yet the individuals selling the product are bringing in an exceptional amount of money. The fair trade sticker means the individuals working in the fields are paid a fair wage for what the products are sold for.
Fair trade allows the labor force to receive the correct amount of money, which in turn goes back into the local community. The more money that is available in these poor countries, the better their lives are going to be. The extra money is going to help not only the families live a better life, but improve the conditions they live in, from upgrading the facility they live in, to improving the water they drink as they are able to afford water filtration systems.
The slight increase in price with the product (although not all items push the price of up, most do somewhat in order to offset the additional cost of labor) helps everyone in the fair trade practice. However, some don’t see the fair trade practice as a viable option for improving the lives of individuals working in the fields. It is difficult to regulate how the “fair trade” is actually in effect, and how much the companies are making off the labeling. Advocates say there should be no regulation as they want international trade to be as open as possible.
When looking at the fair trade labeling on the package of coffee you are about to purchase, it is difficult to know just how much more is going to the local labor force, but it is a substantial increase over what the other farmers are receiving.