To date, there are a few million people who suffer from hunger around the world. Many of these people are farmers and farm workers living in South America, Africa and Asia. They do not have the chance to make a decent living from their work, which is, in most cases, contributing to the production of large agricultural commodities. Indeed, thousands of workers are faced with very unfavorable conditions, with no job security and no power to deal with large companies that act in an unethical manner.

This is one of the reasons why it is important that more and more people understand what Fair Trade is and buy products that come from this kind of practice.

What is Fair Trade?

Many people have asked themselves the following question: What is Fair Trade, in fact? Four of the world's largest Fair Trade organizations have come together to provide a fair and easy-to-understand definition of fair trade:

“Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South. Fair Trade Organizations, backed by consumers, are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.” (Source: Fair Trade Advocacy Office)

Where Does Fair Trade Come from?

This movement was created in the 1940s and 1950s and conceived mainly by non-governmental organizations and religious communities. Later, it is important to note that many student movements have contributed to this new way of doing business. It was in 1946 and in 1949 that the very first associations made their appearance.

Also at the time, human rights were not what they are today. In the development of a post-war industry and in an effort to provide consumers with a more active role in economic and social terms, companies have become increasingly demanding in agriculture.

In order to encourage consumers to buy fair trade products, organizations have begun to identify products with distinctive labels. The objective was then to certify that the products purchased came from Fair Trade.

Even today, certifications like Fair-Trade, HandinHand, Fair for Life and Fair Wild exist to ensure the perpetuity of this movement and protect its resources. These certifications are a guarantee not only of the quality of the products, but also of the respect for the people who create the products or the raw materials produced.

What are the Benefits of Fair Trade?

Eco-friendly agricultural practices

One of the benefits of Fair trade is the respect for the environment through Fair trade practices. Several agricultural practices practice only monoculture which is harmful to the environment. It causes deforestation and the disappearance of animal and plant species. There is a loss of biodiversity. In addition, when combined with the use of pesticides, this may result in the depletion of soil nutrients. Plantations can therefore often be seen as contaminating the soil, watercourses and groundwater.

That is why Fair Trade is so important to the environment. Very often, producers will grow the raw materials organically, without using chemicals to help with growth for example. These producers also limit the risk of infection by removing contaminated leaves by hand without using pesticides or insecticides. Not all producers are certified organic farmers, but they all need to adopt more environmentally friendly farming practices.

tea picking

Moreover, with the money raised through fair trade, producers are able to increase biodiversity by planting other plants, trees or shrubs on the plantations, which ultimately helps to preserve the environment.

Become a Business Partner Rather than a Mere Producer

There are many trade exchanges in the world. Buying products and raw materials from Fair Trade makes it possible to enhance confidence, transparency and sustainability of these exchanges. This also makes it possible to valorize the contribution of the producers by making people a priority. Thus, a producer becomes not only a supplier of raw materials for the creation of different products, but a business partner by establishing a direct relationship, without intermediary with the producer. Fair Trade is therefore a collaborative of human collaboration with various actors involved.

A Solution for Community Development

One of the many benefits of Fair Trade lies in the development of communities. Indeed, most of the time, producers live in regions that are very underdeveloped. Thus, operating according to the functioning of Fair Trade, they get a fair share of the profits generated by their production and are then able to reinvest this money in the community. Everything starts from the desire to help them meet their own needs and build a better future for their community.

Safety and Freedom for Workers

Under international law, it is permissible to hire a child aged 12 and over to perform light and safe work. However, some companies simply ignore this regulation and allow themselves to exploit children of all ages, often for almost nothing.

Many have very few means to improve their working conditions and hardly have their rights recognized as workers, both for adults and for children. In fact, even governments can not stop or curb this kind of abuse.

Even if some images show young workers in the tea and/or coffee fields on the Web, it is important to keep in mind what some workers are facing. This is why it is important to learn about the conditions under which people work to create a product. Fair Trade aims to raise awareness of this reality and encourage consumers to make informed and ethical choices.

free medical care fairtrade

Patients queuing to have a free medical consultation. This action is also part of a Fair Trade Organization project.

Why Opt for Fair Trade Products?

Would you like to live in a world where international trade is more respectful of Mankind and the Planet? You can do your part by choosing to consume Fair Trade products. In this way, you will help change the daily lives of small producers around the world. Indeed, thanks to Fair Trade, they will have better guaranteed wages and working conditions, which will enable them to have access to drinking water, medical care and education for their children etc. In addition, they will be able to use the money raised to invest in community development and land biodiversity, contributing to the development of a more ecological and social world.

In addition, the products you buy will be of superior quality. In order to obtain a Fair Trade certification, the company or producer is subjected to a rigorous verification process that attests that the products comply with different production standards.

So if equality and fairness are two words that you care about, this type of responsible consumption is definitely a step forward.

Moreover, at Four O'Clock, this is a mandate we have given ourselves and that is why we offer more than thirty certified Fair Trade products.

green tea fair trade

In the end, Fair Trade products are not only a better choice for respecting human rights, but also for the environment and the development of communities around the world. Whether it's the manufacturer, the workers, the organization or even you as a consumer, everyone gets their fair share. After all, being human means also thinking about others and contributing to their well-being.