Goals of Fair Trade
Fair Trade is an overarching term referring to an exchange between producers and consumers which focuses on providing sufficient pay, improved working conditions, and ensuring a basic standard of living for farmers while creating environmentally friendly products. Fair trade strives to provide wages that match the cost of living needed for well being and livelihood. In the process, working conditions are often improved significantly. Farmers can trust they will have a safe and lively workplace, free from child labor, isolation, and many hazards endagering their lives. Environmentally friendly products are also a top priority, as can be seen through the sheer quantity of chemicals prohibited. These chemicals are harmful to not only the farmers, but also the environment. They are often replaced with organic and natural biological methods, significantly improving the quality of crops. No GMO crops are allowed within Fair Trade certifications, ensuring the product is as natural as possible. To guarantee this level of quality, producers and farmers provide reports detailing the positive impact on their surrounding environments that meet the Fair Trade standards.
The History of Fair Trade
In order to fully understand Fair Trade, it is essential to trace the concept back to its roots. The idea of Fair Trade first came to fruition in 1988. A nongovernmental organization based out of the Netherlands started an initiative to ensure farmers in developing countries were given fair compensation and sufficient pay for their work. A few years later, the Max Havelarr made its debut. This is well known to be the first Fair Trade label of its kind. The label was named after a fictional Dutch character who stood up against the exploitation of workers, specifically coffee pickers in nearby Dutch colonies. In years to come, this concept would be adopted by European and American countries, and become Fair Trade as it is known today.
How does Fair Trade Work?
The whole process begins with Fair Trade buyers communicating with farmers to determine a basic minimum wage, which typically falls far above the average world price. Higher prices are often negotiated by the quality of the product, but this baseline minimum is determined by the cost of living and cost of sustainable products and methods. Typically, a premium is paid in addition to the sales price. Producers are able to choose their own premium that works well for their operation. The premium then goes into an account that the farmers have exclusive access to. They are able to spend their earrings on a variety of things, including but not limited to community centers and events, health clinics, scholarships, and improving the quality of water. In order to become Fair Trade certified, an application must be submitted to FLOCERT. If the application is accepted, an inspection will be conducted ensuring Fair Trade standards are met. If the inspection is then passed, a Fair Trade certification is granted. These certifications are typically valid for one year, needing renewal after the time has passed. For more information regarding the certification process, FLOCERT, and Fairtrade International, see the links below.
FLOCERT certification overview
Fairtrade International website
Coyuchi’s Commitment to Fair Trade
Coyuchi has made an outstanding difference in the lives of over 2,000 factory workers through Fair Trade. The Fair Trade premium Coyuchi pays has been used for a variety of projects, however a few stand out. In 2017, the money was put towards buying electric burners, which allowed for families to easily cook in their homes instead of walking long distances to get fuel, which would then be burned in close quarters. This allows for clean cooking in homes, so families and children are not breathing harmful fumes. In 2019 premium dollars were put towards a children’s education fund, health kits for personal hygiene, and fairly priced groceries to name a few. Additional funds over the years have been used for water pumps with clean drinking water, women’s self help groups, and scholarships for youth.
We sell a wide variety of Coyuchi Fair Trade products. The Coyuchi Organic Honeycomb Blanket, Organic Sateen Sheets and Duvet Covers, Organic Percale sheets and Duvet Covers, Organic Relaxed Sateen Sheets and Duvet Covers, Organic Crinkled Percale Sheets and Duvet Covers, Diamond-Stitched Organic Cotton Comforter, and Organic Air Weight Towels are all Fair Trade certified at the factory level, with more products soon to become certified as well. Not only is the quality of these products outstanding, but by purchasing one can be sure that they are supporting Fair Trade farmers, and improving the day to day lives of farmers and families in India.