What is Fair Trade?

The fair trade movement is aimed at helping producers in developing countries to avoid unfair business practices and improve work environments. This movement is mostly targeted at products that are exported from developing countries to developed countries. The intention is that marginalised workers and producers in developing countries are given better trading conditions and have their rights secured.

The movement is a response to the trade rules that are usually biased against developing countries. Developed countries tend to subsidise their farmers so they can continue growing produce. When they end up growing too much they export this extra produce to developing countries to sell. Trade agreements often prevent developing countries’ right to use tariffs and quotas which leads to their markets being flooded with produce from developed countries. Then local producers cannot compete with selling their own products as prices are reduced. This leads to developing countries struggling to get out of poverty and support their own country. As the cycle continues developed countries usually pay less for exports from developing countries as they have little choice to say no due to their increased desperation.

The fair trade movement aims to remove the bias between developed and developing countries by changing these laws to better accommodate poorer farmers. A minimum price is set to produce grown by poorer farmers to counteract the small payment given by richer countries. This does not affect the consumers. This is designed around the ability to create an overall balanced and sustainable global economy.

Fairtrade International currently has the largest and most recognised standard setting and certification body for labelled fair trade. They are mostly known for their fair trade coffee brands. Packers in developed countries pay a fee to use the brand and logo for their packaging. Packers and retailers do not have a limit for their prices. Only products from some developing countries are eligible for certification and some products are restricted to cooperatives.

Avenue is not a certified fair trade organisation however we practise the principles of fair trade. A growing number of our suppliers are certified Fairtrade organisations, this includes Seven Women and Craftworks Cambodia.

  Kevin Huang - Fighting Chance Intern

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