What is Fair Trade?

Fair trade and ethically produced products restores the dignity of the worker and ensures conscientious consumerism. Regulation is needed to combat the dangers of human rights violations and labor trafficking among vulnerable populations.

In our increasingly interconnected world, fair trade plays an important role in ensuring ethical production and conscientious consumerism. “Equitable trading partnerships” and a process in which companies are held to transparency standards in production are goals of the growing movement.[1] Especially because many companies outsource production in developing countries, regulation is needed to combat the dangers of human rights violations and labor trafficking among vulnerable populations. Fair Trade Certified lists their primary objectives as: income sustainability, empowerment, environmental stewardship, and individual/community well being. To achieve this, they follow a process of “rigorous standards, community development funds, transparent supply chains, and conscientious consumers.”[2] Products with a fair trade label carry the assurance of both quality and ethical processing.

The concept of Fair Trade has been around since 1946, but it has become more visible and accessible to consumers in recent years.[3] In Los Angeles and in Orange County, many local businesses have committed themselves to fair trade certification. It is most common that these businesses exist online to establish connectivity between their customers and their global partners they source products from. Some of the leaders in this are businesses like Noonday Collection. The two founders of Noonday sought out a way to “alleviate poverty through entrepreneurship.” Having both worked in Latin American and Africa, they discovered ethically sourced fashion could be used to create opportunities for individuals in vulnerable communities and bring information to consumers about the benefits of fair trade.[4]

Another trailblazer in fair trade includes the team of Fair Trade LA. This is a group of committed individuals who specialize in work with nonprofits, women’s empowerment, and poverty alleviation. They come together in working to establish Fair Trade cities and universities and broadening awareness of the movement. One member of the Fair Trade LA team, Jasmine French, is a Vanguard University alumna (‘18) and former president of the school’s Live2Free club. She currently serves on the Board of Directors and as the Southwest fellow for Fair Trade campaigns. It is young people like French with a heart for advocacy against human-trafficking and for ethically sourced goods that fuel the fair trade movement.

Vanguard’s Live2Free club is flourishing with these kinds of students and has a special focus on anti-human trafficking. Live2free hosts an annual Fair Trade Fashion Show to raise awareness among Vanguard students about the accessibility and ethical principles behind shopping fair trade.

For those interested in learning more about the fair trade movement or companies, feel free to check out some of the resources below.

-Julia Bryant

 

RESOURCES

FAIR TRADE BRANDS

CITATIONS

  1. “What is Fair Trade?” Fair Trade Campaigns. https://fairtradecampaigns.org/about/faq/
  2. “Why Fair Trade.” Fair Trade Certified. https://www.fairtradecertified.org/why-fair-trade
  3. “History of Fair Trade.” World Fair Trade Organization. https://wfto.com/about-us/history-wfto/history-fair-trade
  4. “Our Purpose.” Noonday Collection. https://www.noondaycollection.com/about/