When your coffee has fair trade certification, it guarantees just prices and ethical buying. It prevents child labor, encourages conservation and protection of the environment and ensures a just price to cover production costs. Other trading principles adhered to include a safe workplace, the right to form unions and abiding by the United Nations human rights charter. There are many products besides coffee with fair trade certification including honey, cotton, rice, spices, banana, cocoa and wine.
Fair trade is important because almost 75 percent of coffee is grown by farmers on small plots of 25 acres or less. Local farmers do not have access to resources to compete in a major market against large corporations. As a result, many coffee farmers were having a difficult time realizing profits. Fair Trade standards gives local farmers a better opportunity to profit from their enterprises. Working conditions and morale are improved resulting in better bean production.
The mission and scope of Fair trade certified coffee is to support a better life for farming families in the fast growing world through direct trade, fair prices, environmental stewardship and community development. Fair Trade certified began with Max Havelaar in the Netherlands in 1970.
German Fair Trade labeling organizations make international deals with more than 20 national branches throughout the whole world. The following countries are the members of this certification: Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Thailand.
Fair Trade Certification Explained
01) Family farmers receive fair prices for their harvest.
02) The community shares in specific development projects.
03) Agrichemicals considered harmful are prohibited for use in fair trade farming. In addition, pre-harvest credits are made available to farmer organizations.
04) The farmers’ health and preservation of valuable ecosystems for future generations are at the heart of the environmental sustainability of fair trade practices.
05) Farmers protect the land and the wildlife habitat through the use of intercropping plant species, soil fertility improvement practices, and erosion control measures.
06) Fair trade farming does not restrict workers’ rights of free association and work.
07) Fair trade farming doesn’t restrict workers’ rights of free association and work.
08) Workers are free to associate in groups and can enjoy safe and happy working conditions as well as fair wages.
09) Forced child labor practices are not allowed.
10) Importers can purchase directly from fair trade coffee producers directly.
11) To keep the activities transparent, certification needs a proof of domestic process.
12) Fair trade practices are democratic and encourage farm workers and farmers to decide as a team how to invest fair trade revenues.
13) Usually fair trade premiums are invested in community development projects such as education, scholarship awards, school grants, healthcare services and other training programs.
When a product is Fair Trade Certified you know it has been grown or made under the conditions described above. It is heartening to note that Fair Trade Coffee has grown in popularity over the last 10 years, and can be bought on the Internet, in supermarkets and from coffee retailers.