Why Should We Buy Fairtrade Certified Products?

Next time you do your shopping, look closely for the certifications the product has (or doesn't have). In previous texts, I've already talked about FSC and RSPO certifications, important proof that the product was made in a socially and environmentally responsible way. Today, I want to talk about the 'Fairtrade' certification.

Small-scale farmers and workers don't usually benefit from the success of their products. Meagre salaries stagnate the working society and perpetuate poverty through generations. As the children are needed on the farm, they have no choice but to leave school at a very early stage, preventing them from having other prospects later in life. They are an exploited bottom of the supply chain that should be better protected by us, as consumers.

When we buy products with the #Fairtrade certification, we are supporting farmers and workers as they work to improve their lives and #communities. The certification means that the Fairtrade ingredients in the product have been produced by small-scale farming organisations or plantations that meet Fairtrade social, economic and environmental standards.

For certain products, such as coffee, cocoa, cotton and rice, Fairtrade only certifies small-scale farming organisations. For some products such as bananas, tea and flowers, Fairtrade also certifies plantations - companies that employ large numbers of workers on estates. The standards for such large-scale production units protect workers’ basic rights; from keeping them safe and #healthy, allowing them freedom of association and collective bargaining, to preventing discrimination and ensuring no bonded or illegal child labour. They also require employers to pay wages that progress towards living wage benchmarks.

Ensuring decent working conditions and strong workers' rights is central to the Fairtrade’s work; and we should make it central to our #shopping list as well.

For more information about this certification and updated data, go to: http://www.fairtrade.org.uk

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