1. "Fair trade makes free trade work for the world’s poor," said Paul Rice, Fair Trade USA’s founder, president and CEO. Free trade leaves small-scale producers behind when large subsidized companies start to take over their industries. Large contracted farms can afford to sell commodities at lower prices but local farmers, who have traditionally supplied these products, are driven into debt. The only way these farmers can compete with subsidized farms is to lower their product prices to the point where labor is free and quality of life is unsustainable.
2. Products certified as fair trade ensure equitable trade practices at every level of the supply chain. This entails a high level of transparency and traceability in global supply chains. Democratically organized farming groups receive a guaranteed minimum floor price (or the market price if it’s higher) and an additional premium for certified organic products. Farming organizations also are eligible for pre-harvest credit.
3. The fair trade license fees generate funds, which are given to the fair trade communities. This money is specifically designated for social, economic and environmental development projects such as scholarships, schools, quality improvement and leadership training and organic certification. Each community determines how their funds will be used through democratic systems.
4. Workers on fair trade farms enjoy freedom of association, safe working conditions and sustainable wages. Forced child and slave labor are strictly prohibited.
5. Fair trade certified products are free of genetically engineered ingredients, and must be produced with limited amounts of pesticides and fertilizers and proper management of waste, water and energy.
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Below are the top five reasons why buying fair trade products are important: