Update: A reader brought this New York Times article to my attention and I felt it was important to share with all of you in the interest of making informed food and shopping choices. A quick summary is that Fair Trade USA is separating from Fair Trade International and changing some of the practices/standards. Their position is that they are making fair trade available to all and will be able to help more people (putting it very simply). Critics believe it waters down the overall standards and quality of the fair trade certification. They’re also concerned that it will be harder for small farms to compete because large farms that previously did not qualify for the certification will offer businesses a new option for purchasing.
My take on it – I’m not going to pretend to understand all the economies at play in what seems to be a messy and complicated issue. I think Fair Trade has a lot of redeeming values and I will continue to look for the label from Fair Trade USA and Fair Trade International. But I’ll also remember that one label doesn’t tell me everything. I need to look for the asterisk and continue to read ingredients. When it comes to food, unfortunately, we can’t trust any one organization to tell us what’s best for us. That’s a decision we have to make on our own. ————————–
Honestly, I’ve often wondered that myself, but never took the time to look into it. I had a basic understanding, but not enough so that I felt incentivized to look for the fair trade label on products I was purchasing. If it was there, bonus. But I really wasn’t making a habit of looking for it.
Lat month, I was approached by Fair Trade USA to share information about the label and some of the products that carry it. So I went in search of a better understanding and here’s what I learned about the global impact of Fair Trade and the products that make it possible. (This will be helpful in shopping and entering to win the giveaway at the end of this post)
- Fair Trade Certified products help improve lives and protect the environment.
- Shopping for Fair Trade Certified products means families worldwide earn fair wages and receive important life benefits like health care, education and support for environmental protection initiatives.
- The use of genetically modified organisms are banned in Fair Trade Certified products.
- The Fair Trade Certification helps shoppers quickly identify products that were produced in an ethical manner.
- Not all Fair Trade Certified products are 100% organic, but organic practices are encouraged.
- The prices may seem higher than mass-produced brands, but they are competitive with other gourmet, high-quality products on the market.
- Just Love Coffee
- Zhena’s Caramel Chai Tea Latte Concentrate
- Near East Quinoa
- GloryBee Organic Compai Honey
- Badger Creamy Cocoa Body Moisturizer
- Badger Lip Tint & Shimmer (Garnet)
- Numi Organic Tea
- Lily’s Dark Chocolate bar
- Larabar (cappuccino)
Fair Trade USA is a non-profit, but they don’t do charity. Instead, they actually teach disadvantaged communities how to use the free market to their advantage. They provided the information and facilitated the collection of giveaway items from the participating brands. I was not financially compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.