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Consuming for fair shopping

About a week ago I considered myself to be a smart shopper, but I was only thinking in terms of cost. Of course a large part of shopping smart is spending wisely, but researching products before purchasing could make you both a smart shopper and spender.

Have you ever checked to see if your favorite brand of Coffee was fair trade certified? Are you frowning right now with a puzzled look on your face, wondering what the heck fair trade is? Well, fair trade is an organized social movement that aims to help producers in developing countries, such as Brazil, to create better trading conditions and promote sustainability.

fair trade is a movement that supports paying fair wages to exporters. In return consumers receive improved social and environmental quality in relation to product production. Many of the products exported include coffee, tea, honey, wine, sugar, fresh fruit and cocoa.

Many negative issues can develop by overlooking fair trade. If we do not trade fairly and fail to pay producers a fair price for their products, producers will run low on funds. In order for these producers to manage the production of their product with inadequate funds, they will result to hiring mediocre employees. The mediocre employees will consist of child laborers and unskilled workers which can lead to a decrease in the quality of our products. This creates a ripple effect when dealing with fair trade.

Now that we are aware of the problems unfair trade can cause, we must become  part of the solution. As I surfed through multiple websites on fair trade, I wondered how I, as a consumer, could help. I was excited to find that more than 10,000 fair trade certified products are sold in more than 70 countries worldwide. In the U.S. market, consumers can choose from more than 7,000 products exported from 58 countries. By purchasing fair trade labeled products, consumers can relieve exploitation in developing countries and promote environmental sustainability.

Fair Trade seems to be a fair deal. This system is beneficial to both consumers and producers.

A few upstanding principles of fair trade include:

Fair prices and credit: democratic organized farming groups receive a guaranteed minimum floor price and an additional premium for certified organic products.


Fair Labor Conditions: workers on free trade farms enjoy freedom of association, safe working condition and sustainable wages

Community Development: fair trade farmers and farm workers invest fair trade premiums in social and business development projects like scholarships, schools, quality, improvement and leadership training and organic certification

Environmental Sustainability: harmful agrochemicals (fertilizer, fungicide, etc.) are strictly prohibited in favor of environmentally sustainable farming methods that protect farmers’ health and preserve valuable ecosystems for future generations.

Money speaks in the fair trade movement. It’s time for us to start doing our homework on the products that we purchase. Ask yourself questions based on your morals and values. Do you care that a young child may be forced to make the products you purchase? Are you aware that purchasing a fair trade product could make a difference in social and business projects such as scholarships and schools? Instead of just using our money for spending, it’s time that we use our money as a newfound voice.  Paying the fair price for products shows that we care. I care, do you? If so, start checking for the fair trade label and join the movement.

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