How can we tell that Fair Trade is successful and what’s the big secret to this program that is pivotal to it’s success and growth?
The Fair Trade Basics – What is it?
Firstly, what is Fair Trade? Fair Trade is a trading partnership based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks greater equity in international trade.
Where Does the Money Go?
The money collected from the program can be used in a few different ways. Some is spent on social projects like building schools and health clinics. The funds could also go towards farmer education which empowers growers to find ways to increase sustainability on their farms and improving coffee production.
Fair Trade cooperatives aim to give farmers control over their own lives within the network of their cooperative and promote an entrepreneurial spirit among growers. Operating a profitable business allows growers to think about their future, instead of trying to find ways to survive on less income.
So what is the secret of the Fair Trade program? It’s actually very simple, it’s you!
This program only becomes useful when organizations are backed by consumers who are actively engaged in supporting producers, raising awareness and campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.
How to Contribute
The best way to help as a consumer, is to inform yourself on where your products come from, and how they get to the shelf. Challenge your products and ensure that anything coming from producers in developing countries, pays a fair price. Overall, being a conscious consumer is a more efficient way of endorsing sustainable development of these farming communities, than traditional charity and aid.
University students have significantly increased their consumption of Fair Trade products over the last several decades, with some campuses even taking part in becoming Designated Fair Trade Campuses. The Campus program recognizes colleges and universities demonstrating strong commitment to fair trade. To find out more about the campus program check here, or to see if your university has taken part, see the complete Canadian list of Designated Fair Trade Campuses here.