1) It reduces Poverty.
Although Fairtrade certification doesn’t eliminate poverty, it certainly eases it. For the first time many of the workers can plan ahead, save for the future and invest in their families – from being able to fund their children’s educations to building better and safer homes. Often it means that the workers get paid a living wage, a wage they can live on.
For those who can’t or don’t work in Fairtrade organisations, there is a dramatic increase in famine, suicide rates, work-related deaths, work-related illnesses due to exposure to chemicals and toxins, a higher rate of slavery, exploitation of children and coping with living day to day under the $1 dollar a day poverty line.
2) It invests in Women.
Women produce most of the food, craft-work and clothes in developing countries. Of the world’s 1.2 million living on less than $1 dollar a day, 70% are women and girls. They often work longer hours, for less pay and in worse jobs than men.
According to international Fairtrade standards, women should have the same opportunities as men – to train, develop skills, apply for job vacancies and seek leadership roles. Fairtrade rules also specify that women are well-presented on the joint bodies and committees that decide how the Fairtrade social premium is spent. Women who are strengthened by Fairtrade also raise daughters with higher expectations of their opportunities and better understanding of their rights.
3) It helps put an end to child exploitation.
The International Labour Organisation estimates that 126 million children aged 5 – 14 work in hazardous and illegal conditions, many trapped in slave labour, debt bondage and prostitution. With adult wages not often enough to feed families, children are sent out to work. All certified Fairtrade produce is guaranteed not to involve exploitative child labour.
4) It increases the quality of Produce.
As Fairtrade food is produced by small scale farmers, they can take great pride in creating high quality products. They know that quality sells – that the higher the quality, the better the chance that they will have repeat sales and recommendations to their produce. For the first time, Fairtrade producers have a lot to gain as they have a real stake in what they are doing.
5) It helps safeguard the Environment.
Fairtrade almost always leads to environmental improvements; after all if the environment thrives, it’s better for the people working in it. Co-operatives invest their social premiums into soil and water conservation, reducing the use of pesticides and herbicides, tree planting, agroforesty, organic production, composting, improved drinking water and sanitation.