Fair Trade is a term that is often used in the green community, and you have probably seen your favorite organic chocolate, coffee, tea, etc. labeled as fair trade certified. The concept behind fair trade is simple: to create a sustainable and just global economic system through fair trade (Fair Trade Federation). This goal is accomplished by supporting seven principles identified by the Fair Trade Federation:
Fair wages in a local context,
Financial and Technical Support,
Respect for cultural identity, and
As consumers in a “developed” nation, most of our goods are produced overseas. Fair trade targets these exports from developing countries to North America and Europe. As a parent, I become especially appalled when I hear about products manufactured by children in unsafe working conditions, such as Gap Kids clothing made by children in third world countries. Fair trade certification gives the consumer some peace of mind that children were not exploited in the production of the goods they are purchasing. Fortunately, fair trade is moving beyond coffee, chocolate, and tea to encompass toys, sports equipment, musical instruments, clothing, etc. for children.
If you would like to read more, including links to fair trade curriculum for parents and teachers, please visit my post on GNM Parents: “A Little Greener: Fair Trade Alternative & Kids”.