Fair Trade Freo is a group of community members and local entrepreneurs committed to creating a fair deal for developing world producers. We aim to increase the awareness and availability of fair trade by hosting events and promoting the use of fair trade products by consumers and businesses in the greater Fremantle area.
If the world’s poorest producers were employed and supported on fair trade principles, they would have enough money to pay for health services, nutritious food and have access to education for their children, clean water and sanitation. Consumers would enjoy the sweet pleasures of coffee, chocolate and much more without the bitter tales of child labour, dangerous working conditions and the environmental devastation linked to so many global industries.
What is fair trade?
The official and internationally agreed definition of fair trade is 'A trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers.'
Fair trade organisations – backed by consumers – actively support producers, raise awareness and campaign for changes to the rules and practice of conventional international trade. It is a hand up, not a hand out and is based on equitable business transactions of marketable products that enable producers to work their way out of poverty.
Fair trade addresses issues of poverty and disadvantage right across the global community as it:
- Offers respect for the hard work of talented people
- Guarantees a better deal for developing nation producers
- Empowers people to control their livelihoods and businesses
- Allows children access to schools by providing their parents with a higher, more stable income
- Promotes gender equality, by including women in business
- Gives marketing, sales, networking and business support
- Disallows child labour
- Disallows slave labour
- Empowers and educates producers to work in harmony with the environment
- Creates local sustainability
How do I know if a product is fair trade?
The Fairtrade label placed on a product indicates that the product is fair trade certified and that its supply chain has been audited according to internationally agreed standards.
Fairtrade certification not only provides a minimum guaranteed price, it also provides producing cooperatives with a premium to invest back into the business, or to upgrade basic living standards in the local community. There are some products that are ‘fair trade’, but at this time cannot be licensed to carry the Fairtrade label /logo. Not all products and organisations can be ‘certified’ or ‘accredited’ because of the complexity and variety of the relationships established between producers and traders. Such products might include handicrafts, toys, home wares, jewellery and skin care. The most reputable of these producers will be members of the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO).
WFTO accredits organisations that operate under fair trade principles. The WFTO system operates differently to the Fairtrade Labelling / Certification system in that while there is no official certification, the product is considered ‘fair trade’ if it was made by a WFTO member.
You can be sure that everything is fair trade when you shop in an Oxfamshop. Oxfamshop is registered as a WFTO and has been operating for over 50 years as a non-profit producer direct retailer. Any surplus made goes direct to Oxfam Australia, which works to alleviate poverty and social injustice around the world. Oxfamshop sources handcrafts and food from over 60 individual workers, craft bodies and WFTO’s in developing countries, including Indigenous Australians. Oxfamshop also stocks a full range of fairtrade certified products.
What can you do to support Fairtrade in your community?
- Talk about fair trade, mention it as you pour someone a fair trade cuppa at home, and show your friends your latest fair trade purchase.
- Ask if your local / favourite café serves Fairtrade tea and coffee, and if not, let them know that you support organisations that support fair trade!
- Ask your boss to switch to Fairtrade Certified tea and coffee in the staff room, or just bring in your own and offer to share it with some of your colleagues.
- Encourage your school (or your children’s school), university and council to become a fair trade community.
- Be part of the national Fairtrade Fortnight initiative and come along to an event in your area or organize your own event.