Fair Trade can be considered a social movement which focuses on growing the industry within developing countries in a way which mutually benefits all parties involved.
The most common example would be seen at your favorite coffee store or the Groupon Coupons page for Patagonia, both of which offer fair trade products.
However, that is just the consumer side of the arrangement.
One of the primary beliefs of the movement is that it is better to enable a country to provide for itself than simply provide financial and humanitarian aid better.
Fair agreements with producers is the chosen platform to bring this belief to life.
Take the coffee store mentioned above as the perfect example.
In a pre-fair trade world, the grower of the coffee beans would receive around 0.1% of the total cost that you paid for the cup at the register.
With a fair trade agreement in place, however, the grower receives a much higher percentage, potentially around 2%.
The primary point is that that producer is included evenly in the cost and profit distribution model.
While it may not seem like a large percentage, there are numerous other points of contact which the coffee passes through which also take their percentage.
However, it is important to remember that the producers of the beans operate a farm in a developing nation, where the currency is weak. Once the producer’s profits are exchanged, the amount provides a significant boost to the production business. In these instances, a coffee plantation likely owned by families who have produced coffee beans for generations.
When you break it down into pieces, fair trade agreements are an excellent way to not only build industry in developing nations and increase employment but also to sustain it as an ongoing commercial ecosystem.
For those looking to help, the answer is obvious – look for the sign. Literally.
Many businesses who engage fair trade agreements take numerous steps to advertise the fact. And rightfully so. Just because it makes for good PR doesn’t mean that it isn’t beneficial. The more consumers become aware of fair trade agreements, the more who will flock to the stores who advertise their support for it, helping to keep the movement going.