Refresher – What really is fair trade?

Fair trade products are equitably created goods including a range of products from food to clothing.  The focus tends to be on exports from developing countries to developed countries.  In these countries,  craftsmen, artisans, and producers work in safe and clean conditions, and for fair wages.  Their products are then sold locally or around the world.

The Peruvian Andes, home of some of Fair Indigo’s Artisans.

There is no standard definition of Fair Trade, though it is essentially trade that attempts to not harm anyone in the process of creating a product.  This can include sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, in order to have as little negative impact on the earth as possible.  Fair Trade is not fast-fashion, which can promote unfair working conditions, but nor it is charity.  It is the free market being used to the best of its ability.

Fair Trade originated in the United States in the 1940s, with Edna Ruth Byler of Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Edna worked with artisans in Puerto Rico to create beautiful textiles, which she brought back to the United States. Since, the Fair Trade movement expanded globally, starting with helping refugees of World War II in Europe. Fair Trade has increased greatly since the early 2000s.  The first World Fair Trade Day, May 10th, was held in 2002.  In 2006, Fair Trade sales topped at $2.6 billion globally.

In 2008, 88% of US consumers identified themselves as conscious consumers and socially responsible. However, less than 10% of consumers had purchased from a Fair Trade organization in the past year.

So, what’s next?  Check out the Fair Trade collections at Fair Indigo.  Fair Indigo works with Fair Trade companies from around the world, including Thailand, India, and Peru. Not only can you be sure that Fair Indigo clothing is fairly made, but that its quality and style will last for years.

A Worker in a Factory in Peru.

Sources:

http://www.fairtraderesource.org/wftd/

https://www.fairtradefederation.org/history-of-fair-trade-in-the-united-states/

http://www.altereco-usa.com/media/images/2009TrendsReport.pdf