Buying Fair Trade Products – What it Means

Consumers these days are taking much more notice about the products they buy such as where it originated, how it is made and how it is produced. The Fair Trade Movement has had a lot to do with this mounting interest and awareness. This movement is concerned with sustainable products which are made in developing countries. A growing range of produce and handicrafts have been awarded the Fair Trade label and include gifts, home-wares, jewelry and handmade bags as a few examples. A product which qualifies for Fair trade certification must pass the strict guidelines which are used. The company needs to show that they are fair employers and their workers are well paid and treated and that the products are made with sustainable methods with proper care for the environment. The products are easy to recognize as they are labeled with the Fair Trade certification¬¬.

In countries, where production workers have toiled in less than acceptable conditions for years making products like handbags and jewelry, the Fair Trade movement is making inroads. Workers are at last able to receive decent living wages and working conditions in countries such as Thailand and the products they make are exported to places such as USA, UK, Canada and Australia. In India, the extremely poor conditions and payments have been the standard practice for workers in the textile, jewelry and handbag business for decades. Now those workers who are producing fair Trade products are receiving far better conditions and fair pay rates and the use of child labor has been abolished.

Fair trade extends to a wide range of industries and products and is making changes to the harsh working conditions that have been endured in the past by coffee workers, cocoa bean harvesters and gold and diamond industry workers.

By helping producers in the developing countries achieve better prices for their products the Fair Trade movement is achieving a better life for the communities. These people are able to build schools, improve roads and get access to better health care. Fair Trade can assist them to develop their businesses and ensure a better future for the entire community. Producers in countries all around the world like Ethiopia, Ghana, Papua New Guinea, Bolivia and India are freeing themselves from exploitation and becoming involved in the Fair Trade movement.

Part of the philosophy behind the movement is to bring about a constructive change in third world countries through trade and commerce as an alternative to providing aid. It helps the producers learn to become self sufficient and move away from reliance on aid from developed countries. It is quite enlightening to know that we have considerable purchasing power concerning the choice of products we buy. Every Fair Trade product we buy is making a genuine difference to workers in third world countries. The purchase is also a way of giving a signal to those who might exploit these workers because of their business practices. So these ideas are well worth considering the next time you notice the Fair Trade label on a product.
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Mount Carstensz Pyramid, Papua
Puncak Jaya or Carstensz Pyramid (4,884 m) is one of the great
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