Fairtrade is basically an alternative approach to conventional trade and is based on a partnership between producers and consumers. When farmers can sell on Fairtrade terms, it provides them with a better deal and improved terms of trade, which ultimately helps improve their lives and plan for their future. Fairtrade also rewards and encourages farming and production practices that are environmentally sustainable, meaning producers are also encouraged to strive toward organic certification.
Two-thirds of Fairtrade farmers live in Africa and the Middle East, and just under a quarter in Latin America and the Caribbean and the rest are in Asia and the Pacific. Together they produce everything from coffee, cocoa, bananas, honey and spices. What you may not know is that women make up nearly half of all Fairtrade hired labor and the areas of dried fruit, fruit juice, flowers and tea have the biggest female workforces. If we break those numbers down even further, the tea plantations and flower farms alone employ almost 90 percent of all female Fairtrade hired workers.
One particular story we always love sharing takes us to SouthEast Asia where women have come together to form the first all-female cooperative and say that being part of Fairtrade has literally changed their lives, and that of their families and has finally given them a voice. This is why we prefer supporting initiatives rather than buying land because it allows these farms to remain within the family for future generations providing a far better and far greater opportunity for women.
Fairtrade offers consumers a powerful way to reduce poverty through their every day shopping choices and addresses the imbalance of power in trading relationships, unstable markets and the potential of injustices that occur through conventional trade.