What does “fair trade” mean?

Fair Trade Coffee

FT_logo_lookWorld coffee prices have gone down drastically in recent years, leaving small coffee farmers unable to make a decent living. They are often forced into selling their next crops in advance to underhanded middlemen who don’t give fair market value. Fair Trade Certified coffee guarantees that a fair price was paid to the farmer and that the farmers are part of a democratic cooperative that cuts out the middlemen and sells direct to buyers.

Buying fair trade means you are supporting independent producers, healthy working conditions, responsible methods of production and better environmental practices.

Ten Thousand Villages started what is now known as fair trade, back in the 40’s selling needlework from artisans in Peurto Rica. Then Oxfam took the mantle in the 50’s, selling crafts made by Chinese refugees. It has now grown to over $4 billion US in sales in 2008, with 746 producer organizations in 58 developing countries. Not just relegated to coffee and handcrafts, you can now purchase a number of other fair trade certified products, from quinoa and honey to wine and roses.

Canadians love fair trade coffee

Learn about the BestFairTrade stamp