Fair Trade Organic Clothing
What if the delicious cup of coffee you enjoy at the beginning of the day can help build a health clinic in Africa? What if the box of chocolate you give to your wife could help teach children in South America to read? What if the sugar you use to bake cookies with your kids could ensure that farmers in Philippines have all the supply they need for better productivity? What if the things you buy are produced in a way that could make all these possible? By buying fair trade certified products, you can make all these possible; you have the power to make a positive impact in the world daily.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair trade is all about improving lives. In simple terms, it is when companies in developed countries of the world pay producers who are in developing countries a price for the work they put in. It is an instance when the price we pay for goods gives producers enough money to afford the essentials of life – such as education, food and quality healthcare.
It was born out of the idea of having an alternative means of carrying out trade. It works base on partnership, meaning that what the farmers and workers want is as important as other commercial needs. It also gives a means of fighting poverty and creates a route for development.
Principles that Fair Trade Operate Upon
· Payments for products are made in advance so that the supplier can carry out orders
· The prices of each trade are fair enough and not favorable to one side
· Ensuring a safe and conducive working environment, without any discrimination of children
· Each producer and worker has a say, whether they organize themselves into groups or they associate freely in workplaces
· Prices paid for products are enough for workers to meet their daily needs
The Importance of having Fair Trade Certified Products?
By having products that are fair trade certified, you are making a choice ensuring quality products, improved lives and a better environment. Your choice will ensure that farmers and workers have a fair deal, that funds are used for community development, and that the products we consume are good for the environment.
Behind every fair trade certified product is a thorough certification process aiming to have fair prices, no GMOs, no dangerous chemicals and no child labor; which means you can be confident that with each purchase, you are living your values of improving lives. When products carry the fair trade mark, it means that they have met the requirements of fair trade. Those requirements are designed to solve the imbalance of power of conventional trade.
Why Purchase Fair Trade Organic Clothing Over Traditional Clothing
Deciding to buy fair trade clothes will offer small-scale farmers the means of improving their livelihoods by guaranteeing them a stable price whether the market fluctuates or not. Clothes having a fair trade certification are made from fair trade cotton. About 750,000 farmers of cotton in 2015 in developing countries have a fair trade certification. This means that more textiles are being produced from cottons that are fair trade certified.
The countries that export the most fair trade cotton are Pakistan, India, and most West African countries. Even though a lot of countries now produce fair trade clothing, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand are the major exporters.
Labor Involved in Fair Trade Cotton Production
Normally, the labor in textile production is different from that of agricultural products because most of the production of textile products takes place in factories and not on a farmland like agricultural goods. Child labor is usually employed in countries like Pakistan, Nepal, and India; this is because it is considered a cheaper labor source. Cooperatives of fair trade make sure the labor practices are fair and safe, and also fight against child labor. For this reason, most of the labor involved in production of fair trade clothing in developing countries is women.
In order to have a successful market for fair trade clothing, the workers need to have a flexible working environment ensuring sustainable income, a connection between producers and consumers and a proper market for their products.
Fair Trade Clothing can Improve the Fashion Industry
The fashion industry is growing at a fast speed. It is worth about $1 trillion today, with a large number of clothing being consumed yearly. Over time, it is gotten difficult to sustain, posing dangers to the earth, and not being fair to the millions working hard in plantations who earn only $68 monthly in countries like Cambodia and Bangladesh. The aim of fair trade is to change this.
When you buy clothing made from fair trade cotton, you know that more artisans are treated with respect and dignity. With any piece of fair trade clothing you buy, try to imagine the hands that have held it, about the man/woman who worked hard to create it. In the fashion industry, over 40 million people work to produce different brands of textile. Buying fair trade clothes will give you the knowledge on who made your clothes, and you will have satisfaction knowing they have been treated the way you would want them treated, so they can live a better life with their families.
How can you know if a Piece of Clothing is Fair Trade Certified?
To have a fair shopping experience, it is necessary to know the right labels. There are a number of ways you can tell if a piece of clothing is ethically made:
· It is made with a Fair Trade Certified logo from Fair Trade international, Fair Trade U.S.A., or from Fair For Life
· It was manufactured by a company that is affiliated with Fair Trade Federation or the World Fair Trade Organization as a member
· If you doubt the practices of the company, it is likely the products are not ethically made. Otherwise, they would have advertised to let you know.
The importance of trading on the international market is not shared fairly by everybody. Small-scale farmers have less access to the market and price of products, and as such, they most times depend on the middlemen to get the little profits for their labor. A lot of factory workers have to endure poor living conditions and low pay.
Fair trade gives a solution to the injustice witnessed by small producers in conventional trade which often exploits and misuse natural resources. Fair trade offers a price for products which will be fair to producers, and also a sound working environment that will continually sustain production.
It is not only about buying and selling of commodities, fair trade also provides support towards education, welfare, and healthcare for workers. This ensures the empowerment of developing countries to play a role towards their development.