What is Fair Trade?

August 1, 2016 |

As time passes our world is becoming more and more connected economically. We are able to buy, sell, and trade products from anywhere around the world. Fair Trade is a non-profit social movement that supports fair, healthy, and sustainable trading practices for developing countries. When you choose Bay Coffee and Tea Company’s coffee, you’re choosing to provide these communities with the opportunity to grow and prosper socially, economically, and environmentally.

The World Fair Trade Organization upholds each Fair Trade Certified producer with 10 principles.  Here is how they affect the coffee industry:

Rule 1: Creates Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Producers

Around the world, Fair Trade has helped farmers tremendously. By reducing poverty and helping economically insecure businesses to become self-sufficient and prosperous, Fair Trade is giving new meaning to the lives of coffee farmers who otherwise would struggle to make ends meet.

Rule 2: Transparency and Accountability

Transparency is huge in Fair Trade, and at times, the coffee industry has been notorious for not being forthright with the world. To be a certified Fair Trade company, there must be open, honest, communication between the company stakeholders, employees, and the farmers to ensure that all parties are treated with honesty and respect.

Rule 3: Fair Trade Practices

To be certified Fair Trade, a coffee company’s must maintain a business relationship with the farmers over time that shows they are not taking advantage of the farmers. Cancelling orders, rejecting shipments, and the payment process all must follow a set of guidelines provided by Fair Trade.

Rule 4: Payment of a Fair Price

Perhaps the most influential aspect of Fair Trade on the coffee industry, Fair Trade assures that coffee farmers are paid a realistic amount of money for their product.  In addition, Fair Trade also ensure that both men and women are paid equally.

Rule 5: Ensures No Child Labour and Forced Labor

Fair Trade also protects children and workers from modern-day slavery. Follwing the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child, any involvement with children is monitored to make sure all local and national laws are followed.

Rule 6: Commitment to Non-Discrimination, Gender Equity, and Women’s Economic Empowerment, and Freedom of Association

While it may be common in the United States, the rest of the world is a different story.  To be certified Fair Trade, a company must show that they do “not discriminate in hiring, remuneration, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, HIV/Aids status or age.”

Rule 7: Ensures Good Working Conditions

Fair Trade coffee companies must ensure that all parties involved maintain a safe and healthy working environment.  Fair Trade coffe companies are always looking for ways to help their farmers and create better working conditions.

Rule 8: Provides Capacity Building

Fair Trade coffee companies go above and beyond a business relationship with their farmers: they also provide a means for their farmers to grow, improve, and gain more success.  These coffee companies help their farmers adapt to the “mainstream” market and act as a mentor in the new market.

Rule 9: Promotes Fair Trade

Fair Trade coffee companies aren’t bashful: in fact, one of the requirements of being a Fair Trade organization is that the company “raises awareness” about the benefits of Fair Trade.  All promotional material and advertising must be straight-forward. Customers must be made aware that the coffee is Fair Trade.

Rule 10: Respect for the Environment

Perhaps the most important rule in the list, Fair Trade assures that an organization is putting forth an effort to become eco-friendly, use sustainable materials when able, and minimize its carbon footprint.  Additionally, coffee companies must use recyclable/biodegradable packaging.

Bay Coffee Supports Fair Trade Coffee!

When you choose to buy Bay Coffee and Tea Company’s coffee, you’re choosing support World Fair Trade businesses and communities with the opportunity to grow and prosper socially, economically, and environmentally. We’re proud supporters of the Fair Trade philosophy and practices! Thank you for your support as well!