I am always in search of a good bargain. When entering into a clothes store to shop, I don’t even glance at the displays in the front; instead, I make a beeline to the back of the store where the bright orange “clearance” signs exist. There’s nothing better than finding a shirt that was originally priced at $35 and is now marked at $5. I mean, you don’t even have to like it for that price, right?
My bargain-hunting skills also transfer to grocery shopping. While at the supermarket, I constantly ask myself the question, “How much food can I get for the least amount of money?”
As a result, when I was approached with the idea of buying fair trade certified gifts, clothing and food a couple years ago, I wasn’t too enthusiastic. Why should I feel the need to pay more for stuff I can buy at a much lower price? Then, I thought, I could use the money I save and give it to the poor. Best of both worlds, right?
Little did I know that by spending only about 10–15 percent more on a few Fair Trade certified products that I would end up purchasing anyway, I would be giving the poor a hand up and not just a handout. I could have an impact that creates lasting solutions to ending extreme poverty.
Here are some fast facts about Fair Trade and a few reasons why I am switching some of my purchases to Fair Trade certified products.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is an organization that helps to improve the sustainability of artisans, workers and farmers by offering a fair price for goods that promote better working conditions, environmental standards and sustainability. Products with a Fair Trade logo ensure consumers that the producer was paid a just price.
What is the impact of buying Fair Trade products?
Fair Trade funds are used to improve the quality of life for over 1.2 million farming families and communities. They fund social, economic and environmental development projects in over 80 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Do Fair Trade products always cost more money to buy?
Not necessarily! Specific goods, such as coffee, have prices that compete well with other popular gourmet coffees.
What kinds of products in the United States are Fair Trade certified?
According to Fair Trade Federation and Fair Trade USA, some of the products they certify are crafts, clothing, coffee, tea, herbs, cocoa, fresh fruit, vegetables, sugar, beans, nuts, oils, spices, wine, apparel, body-care products and spirits. You can find Fair Trade products in more than 500,000 retailers across the country.
But is it really worth it?
Yes! By purchasing Fair Trade certified products, you are telling retailers and producers that you value just practices and fair prices. You are also helping to end poverty by helping to provide income and sustainability to artisans and farmers who need it most.
Incazteca produces, imports and distributes artisan crafted products under fair trade standards.