The Fairtrade mark is recognised by 93% of the UK, with 1 in 4 shoppers buying Fairtrade certified products. (Fairtrade) An internationally recognised standard but, what difference does Fairtrade make?
Fairtrade's mission is to connect disadvantaged farmers and workers with consumers, promote fairer trading conditions and empower farmers and workers to combat poverty, strengthen their position and take more control over their lives. (Fairtrade)
With over 6,000 Fairtrade products such as chocolate, flowers, coffee, clothes, beauty and more, Fairtrade are fighting against injustices such as high exploitation, child workers, low market prices and low wages.
Let's delve into what specific impact Fairtrade has on supply chains within the Chocolate, Fashion and Beauty industry, hearing firsthand from some of our favourite Fairtrade brands.
> Fairtrade Chocolate
Millions of cocoa farmers work extremely hard, under gruelling conditions, yet often don’t earn enough in return to cover their own basic needs – like decent food, housing and education. On average, cocoa farmers earn just 6% of the final value a bar of chocolate. (Fairtrade)
Chocolate brands like Seed and Bean and Chocolate and Love are looking to change this with Fairtrade. Seed and Bean explains that 'The Fairtrade Premium is an additional sum of money, the highest among ethical products, invested into communal projects farmers and workers choose themselves to improve income, buy farming equipment or for healthcare and education.'
As well as supporting livelihoods, Chocolate and Love are creating 'long-term partnerships between farmers and our exclusive sourcing partner, granting also full traceability.’
> Fairtrade Fashion
As many as a 100 million rural households are directly engaged in cotton production, relying on it for their income. (Fairtrade) For farmers, the challenges range from the impact of climate change, poor prices for seed cotton, through to competition from highly subsidised producers in rich countries and poor terms of trade.
Fairtrade certified cotton provides traceability of the cotton from the garment back to the farmers who grew it. People Tree and our own brand KTO are amongst a few fashion brands using Fairtrade cotton. It’s essential that you and I can Know, actually know, if our purchase enriches communities or not. Fairtrade gives farmers the recognition and support that they deserve, and allows workers to have a safety net that protects them from low prices for their crops.
> Fairtrade Beauty
Ingredients within the beauty industry, whilst some fall under food ingredients like coconut oils, sugar or vanilla, a lot are not even eligible to be fair trade certified. However, Fairtrade allow companies to source one or more ingredients as Fairtrade, but not all ingredients as a way for 'brands to commit to using greater volumes of sustainably produced ingredients, and it benefits farmers who can sell more of their produce on Fairtrade terms.' (Fairtrade)
The first UK Skincare and Makeup brand to be both Organic and Fairtrade, Odylique, always try to buy from certified Fairtrade sources for non-European ingredients. For example they buy shea butter, a key ingredients in balms, suncreams, eyeliners and lipsticks from a Ghanian Fairtrade cooperative that re-invests the Fairtrade premium into local schools.
What can you do to support Fairtrade?
1 > As a consumer, look out for the Fairtrade mark on products. FAIR drinks suggests that 'every single day, we can have an impact when we buy groceries (Fair Trade coffee, Fair Trade fruits, Fair Trade spirits, etc…)'
2 > As a business, the additional costs and time consuming documentation is worth it. People Tree believe Fairtrade to be 'essential in order to give our customer assurance that we are authentic in everything we do.'
3 > Check out the Fairtrade website for up to date information on their projects, work and Fairtrade brands.