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Fairtrade story

What is Fairtrade?

A brief history

The history of Fairtrade is not definitely clear but reportedly it started by the purchasing of needlework from Puerto Rico in 1946 by American craft groups. The first shop which opened selling this, and other products, dates back to 1958. In the USA and Europe, Oxfam started selling Chinese refugee’s craft items in its shops in the late 1950s.

The movement grew and in the Netherlands in 1967, the Fairtrade organisation was formed.

However it wasn’t until 1980s that the concept of a Fairtrade label was developed and in 1988 a Dutch development agency launched the “Max Havelaar” label. This meant that any company respecting the conditions of Fairtrade would qualify to use the Fairtrade label.

It was named after a fictional Dutch character who opposed the exploitation of coffee pickers in Dutch colonies.

The Fairtrade Mark looks like this:

 

fairtrade-logo.png

 

What does Fairtrade do?

Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Companies have to pay sustainable prices to ensure producers receive a price which exceeds the minimum of sustainable production of their product.

Fairtrade assists producers to control and improve their lives by assisting them in overcoming the conventional problems associated with normal trading where the producers can be discriminated against.

How does it do it?

Fairtrade provides farmers and workers in developing countries with a fair price (the Fairtrade price) for their produce, helping protect them from damaging fluctuations in world market prices. They also receive an additional sum of money (the Fairtrade Premium) for investment in social, economic and environmental development in their community, such as educational and medical facilities.

Fairtrade Certification Standards prohibits the use of forced or abusive child labour.

The Fairtrade Minimum Price

The Fairtrade Minimum Price is the minimum price that a buyer of Fairtrade products has to pay to a Producer Organisation for their product. It is not a fixed price, but should be seen as the lowest possible starting point for price negotiations between producer and purchaser. It is set at a level which ensures that Producer Organisations receive a price which covers the cost of sustainable production for their product. This means it also acts as a safety net for farmers at times when world markets fall below a sustainable level. However, when the market price is higher than the Fairtrade minimum, the buyer must pay the market price.

The Fairtrade Premium

The Fairtrade Premium is a sum of money paid on top of the agreed Fairtrade Price for investment in social, environmental or economic development projects, decided upon democratically by producers within the farmers' organisation or by workers on a plantation. The Premium is fixed by the Fairtrade International Standards Unit in the same way as the minimum price and remains the same, even if the producer is paid more than the minimum price for the product. The Premium fund is typically invested in education and healthcare, farm improvements to increase yield and quality, or processing facilities to increase income.

For more information on Fairtrade, the Fairtrade Premium and Minimum Price, the Fairtrade Standards, Fairtrade International Licensing Initiatives across the globe and the Ten Principles of Fair Trade, please visit the Fairtrade International website.

Fairtrade delivers a better deal for farmers and producers in the developing world through:

  • A fair and stable price for their produce
  • Security of long-term contracts
  • Investment in local community development
  • Improved working conditions
  • Environmentally sustainable farming methods
  • Support in gaining the knowledge and skills needed to operate successfully in the global economy
  • Independance and Integrity

This is the big one for us - the Fairtrade system ensures that the product is 100% Fairtrade, not just a percentage as with some other “green” labels.

Also it, is independently audited the whole way through the supply chain. No other so-called fair, equitable company/system does this.

  • A key goal of the Fairtrade system is to promote fairness and justice in trade through increased transparency.  Products carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark are independently certified along the supply chain to ensure they have been sourced according to the Fairtrade Standards.
  • Farmers, workers and traders in the country of origin are audited by FLO-CERT (a separate international certification company), while traders and licensees in Australia and New Zealand are audited by FLO-CERT or Fairtrade ANZ. This process includes regular reporting of Fairtrade sales and on-site audits. Together these procedures ensure full supply chain transparency and provide assurance to customers that products carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark are Fairtrade.
  • As a certificated Fairtrade producer we have our own unique FLO ID which is listed on all of our Fairtrade coffees. This allows us to buy and sell Fairtrade Coffee - only companies who sign up and meet all the Fairtrade obligations and conditions are allowed to purchase and a sell Fairtrade coffee with the Fairtrade Mark.

We would love you to assist Fairtrade coffee producers by buying some of our Fairtrade coffee.

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