All you have to do is Google “fair trade” to see thousands of websites pop up. There are fair trade hemp bags, fair trade jewelry, fair trade chocolate, fair trade tea, fair trade clothing, fair trade coffee…the list could go on and on!
Although the large majority of companies that are sell fair trade goods are legit, there are still plenty that are out there to pull the wool over our eyes and make a quick buck. Knowing how to tell a product is truly fair trade or not takes some savvy. Here’s what to look for…
How to Know a Product Is Fair Trade
1. Look for a Fair Trade Certification Labels
There are several organizations that third-party certify fair trade products. You’ll see the symbol on the right most often for food.
Artisan handicrafts are often certified fair trade by the Fair Trade Federation. Here are EarthDivas, we’re working on getting certified this year by FTF! It’s a lengthy process, but we’ll proudly display our fair trade certification label when it goes through.
Keep in mind, however, that not everything that’s fair trade has a label (like us here at EarthDivas!). Looking for a label is only your first step in determining if something is fair trade or not.
2. Examine the Company, and Their Website
After looking for a certification label, the next thing you need to do is examine the company, or the site itself.
Good companies will supply detailed information about their fair trade practices and policies. They’ll be transparent about their relationship with their vendors, and they’ll want to educate you about what fair trade really is. Their goal is to help
If you can’t find any information about that company’s fair trade practices, or their memberships to any fair trade organizations, then this could be a warning sign.
The great news about fair trade is that it’s growing by leaps and bounds. This means more people, families, and communities are climbing out of poverty because they have stable, profitable work.
Listen to your instincts when it comes to buying fair trade. Remember, not every company, especially when it comes to fair trade jewelry, art, clothing, or other handicrafts, will have a certification label. So spend some time researching that company. The best fair trade companies will provide you with plenty of information about their fair trade practices.
Filed under: Fair Trade Basics on February 17th, 2010