Fair Trade Food Products
The fair trade movement is intended to improve the social and environmental impacts of products by setting standards for producers and suppliers. By setting standards and regulating compliance, fair trade certification ensures consumers at the end of a supply chain are supporting sustainable and ethical business. Without transparency in the supply chain of our food it is difficult to know where the products we purchase come from and how they were made. Thanks to fair trade eco labels, consumers can rest assured that a minimum standard for production and trade has been met.
Fair trade eco labels develop a certification process that entails several points. Fair trade eco label standards vary based on the organization, but they all share these common factors in their assessment:
- Producers receive prices that cover their costs of sustainable production.
- Forced labor and child labor are prohibited.
- Social development standards such as collective bargaining processes, freedom of association, adequate safety and health conditions, and sufficient facilities are required.
- Environmentally sound agricultural practices are required – no use of GMOs, minimized use of agrochemicals, maintenance of soil fertility and water resources, and the safe management of waste.
- Organic production is also encouraged but is not mandatory for most fair trade certifications.
In order for a product to earn the fair trade label they must meet the minimum requirements by the applicable fair trade organization throughout their entire supply chain. The process of attaining a fair trade eco label certification from one of these organizations is not trivial and it adds significant value to a brand.
Certain industries such as chocolate, coffee, and tea are enormous and have a long history of dirty supply chains. Many companies have improved their supply chains and the industry as a whole is slowly becoming more sustainable. Exposure of un-ethical business practices to the public is an important part of reforming unsustainable industries as is giving consumers the knowledge necessary to make better purchasing decisions. By setting standards and providing a visual mark of approval, fair trade eco labels help consumers to flex their purchasing power and shift the market toward sustainability.
Look for these fair trade food eco labels to ensure you’re buying fair trade food products:
More information about fair trade chocolate (cocoa).
More information about fair trade coffee.