Fair Trade only used to apply to products such as coffee, tea and bananas, but it’s becoming increasingly easy to buy fair trade across a range of products. For those who really care, it’s possible to buy a large amount of products fair trade, but does this have to involve everything on your shopping list?
Well no; any products that are made or grown locally, such as meats, vegetables and milk, don’t need to be fair trade because they have been produced in the UK under UK employment laws. It’s when we are buying products from developing countries in particular that we need to worry about whether they are fair trade or not. Bananas, for instance, don’t grow in the EU, so it’s important to make sure you only buy the those that have been certified as fair trade. Buying Fair Trade ensures that the grower, farmer, producer or maker of a product is paid fairly for their work. It prevents exploitation of foreign markets, which sadly happens quite often with non fair trade items. The fair trade supply chain is transparent and open and therefore harder to exploit.
It really is possible now to buy many foreign goods by fair trade means. Not only bananas, coffee and tea, but also chocolate, gifts, clothing and jewellery. Stationery can now be purchased fair trade, as can toys, baby clothes and an increasing number of other items.
Buying local is important for your community and for the environment, but not everything we want is produced locally. For any products that need to be imported from developing countries, it’s important to make sure they have been produced and supplied ethically, with people and communities at the heart of trade rather than big business. If you are ever unsure of which product to choose then remember, just trade in fair trade.