We can easily become confused between the terminology of "fair trade"
and "free trade." Free Trade gives people the opportunity to trade between each other in their own country and also with others outside of their country.
Fair trade, an alternative approach to international trade, strives to improve the lives and communities of disadvantaged artisans and farmers around the world. Artisans' World Marketplace partners only with organizations that adhere to the following internationally accepted principles of fair trade:
...artisans are paid a fair wage in the local context
...working conditions are healthy and safe
...no child exploitation
...equal opportunity for women
...production and farming practices are environmentally sustainable
...employee involvement in decision-making
...cultural identity and traditions are honored and respected
We offer the example below to clarify the difference between fair trade and international trade.
> Click here to enlarge.
As you can see, fair trade is not at all about charity. Fair trade simply is a fair system of exchange that empowers artisans and farmers to develop their own sustainable businesses with dignity and self-respect. Retail sales of $1,200 can provide an artisan in a developing country with work and feed his/her family of four for an entire year!
There are several more aspects of fair trade that add to its value and uniqueness. Artisans always receive a fair price for their goods as well as advances on orders. The ability to provide continuity of orders is considered a high priority by fair trade organizations. These same organizations work closely with the artisans to provide quality products. The purchase and marketing of the goods are conducted in accordance with the highest ethical standards. Fair trade organizations also work hard to share specific and meaningful information with consumers about the artisans who create the products they choose to purchase, hoping to increase their understanding of the difference fair trade shopping can make in lives and communities around the world.