As fair trade continues to grow, so does the mis-information about what fair trade really is, and the good it’s doing around the world. So, I thought it was high-time to debunk some of these myths!
Fair Trade Myth #1: Artisans are overpaid for the work they do
Nothing could be further from the truth here!
Artisans that work for fair trade companies are paid a fair, living wage for their skills. Many factors determine what an artisan makes: skill level, amount of time put into each piece, location, local wages, etc.
All wages are determined based on wage benchmarks in each individual country, not North American benchmarks.
Fair Trade Myth #2: Fair Trade drives up the price of goods
Most fair trade products are priced very competitively to other similar goods in the same market. The reason why artisans can earn more and still be competitive is because fair trade cuts out the middleman, who often exploits the workers and keeps a hefty cut of the profits for himself.
Because fair trade works directly with artisans, prices can stay the same but workers take home a higher income.
Fair Trade Myth #3: Fair Trade products don’t have the same quality as mass-produced products
Fair trade products are made by hand, so there will be some variations in the look and feel of different products. But, this doesn’t mean the quality is poor. In fact, the opposite is true: fair trade products are often superior to their mass-produced counterparts.
Here at EarthDivas, we work with our artisans on a regular basis to help them continually improve the quality of their products. And, many other fair trade companies do this as well. Our goal is to lift workers up and provide them with skills to make a long-term career from producing hand made goods.
It’s also important to remember that fair trade products are made with love. Our artisans love what they do, and they’re extremely grateful to have well-paid work. This means that they put a lot of time and attention into each piece. Sweatshops and factories simply can’t replace this dedication and commitment to excellence.
I know there are plenty of myths and mis-information still surrounding fair trade. But, fair trade truly does positively impact local communities. Buying fair trade bags, coffee, chocolate, and clothing means that your money is doing double-duty: you’re helping change the world, and in return you get a wonderful product!
Filed under: Fair Trade Basics on February 23rd, 2010