fair trade

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fair trade,

a trading arrangement intended to provide more equitable international trade by creating better conditions for disadvantaged or marginalized producers of goods. Fair trade practices include paying fair wages, supporting participatory workplaces and environmentally sustainable production, and developing long-term and supportive buyer-producer relationships, typically between a buyer in a developed nation who is purchasing products from a producer in a developing country. Fair trade results in a smaller margin of profit for (or the complete elimination of) the middleman, while the producer or grower of the product receives a larger portion of the product's ultimate price. The increased income producers and growers earn is intended to enable them to move from economic vulnerability to greater self-sufficiency and from powerlessness in relation to their products to greater involvement and empowerment.

Fair trade practices also are intended to promote sustainable development and to suppress exploitive working conditions, providing a safer and healthier working environment, ideally one in which women's work is valued and children's labor prohibited. Fair trade transactions often involve the sales of agricultural products such as coffee, cocoa, and grains by an independent farmer or agricultural cooperative, or the sales of handmade goods such as crafts or clothing, frequently by individual artisans or members of a cooperative workshop. Much of international fair trade is overseen by the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International, an umbrella group (est. 1997) that sets trade and product standards, certifies products, and provides other kinds of support to producer organizations.

Fair trade had its beginnings in the United States in the mid-1940s when an American group began buying needlework from Puerto Rican craftsmen. In 1958 the organization, later named Ten Thousand Villages, opened its first fair trade retail shop. In Europe, the movement began in the 1950s when Oxfam UK imported and sold handicrafts produced by Chinese refugees. In 1964 Oxfam established its first fair trade organization. In 1967 Fair Trade Organisatie was founded in the Netherlands to buy and sell cane sugar produced in Dutch colonies. In 1973 it began to import coffee from Guatemala and later it added tea, cocoa, and other foods to its product roster. Actively supported by a growing group of consumers, fair trade expanded as labeling began (1988) and international standards were established, as more alternative trade organizations were created worldwide, and as new fair trade products were introduced.

References in periodicals archive ?
The survey results show that 58.3% of respondents have heard of the fair-trade movement and that 26.5% have "knowingly purchased" a fair trade product.
* Fair-trade products are served at all meetings and events hosted by the college and the student union.
Fair-trade certification is an incentive for them to remain in production as they get an additional sum of US$ 60 per ton of sugar produced," he said.
Demand for fair-trade goods continues to expand, as does the variety of goods being certified.
E-marketplaces for fair-trade products distribution have the potential to lead the charge towards viable, sustainable supply chains.
Two of the large Guatemalan coffee-grower groups that work with fair-trade giant Equal Exchange, the 18-year-old Massachusetts-based worker-owned cooperative, were initially organized by the Catholic dioceses of San Marcos and Quetzaltenango.
Other observers outside the fair-trade system note that wealthy countries often raise tariff barriers to protect their own farmers and other workers, increasing domestic production and lowering world commodity prices.
Consumers are increasingly opting for more ethical coffee: fair-trade sales worldwide grew by 12 per cent in 2001, while overall coffee consumption increased by just 1.5 per cent.
The chain is a strong supporter of the fair-trade movement which guarantees producers a price covering cost of production and a basic living wage, plus a `social premium' to help the community.
The chain has been a strong supporter of the fair-trade movement which guarantees producers a price which covers the cost of production and a basic living wage, plus a 'social premium' to help the local community.
"I would like to invite Coventry shoppers to our fair-trade extravaganza to taste some produce for themselves and hope people will make conscious effort to help developing countries by buying some fair-trade produce either on a regular basis or once in a while."