How Fair Trade Makes a Difference to Folks Many Time Zones Away
For workers who grow coffee raise bananas, cut roses, and process cocoa pods abroad, fair trade has made a huge difference in their lives. What was once seen as a way to plunge into guilt-free indulgence has now blossomed into a movement that has seen Fair Trade Certified products find their way into over 50,000 retail stores. Paul Rice, CEO of Fair Trade USA, makes his case for why fair trade is the best way to guide consumer choices. Whether the premiums for fair trade cut out exploitive middlemen, allows for affordable health care, or lead to more educational opportunities, paying farmers a little more pays dividends. Farmers are not squeezed by having to purchase expensive pesticides or genetically-modified seeds; they are freed from selling crops at a price often less than what it costs to raise them; and proves that the free market works. Fair trade is not charity: it is paying a fair price for hard work. Fair trade tea, coffee, chocolate, roses, and even clothing provide not only a higher quality product, but rewards those who work hard raising and processing these goods. For those who participate in Fair Trade USA’s program, the process is rigorous, starting with a 200 point checklist that evaluates all facets of a farm’s operations. The following video, produced by the Skoll Foundation, gives the best explanation for why fair trade works for growers and consumers. Please watch Paul Rice, and the workers who benefit from fair trade, tell their stories.