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About Fairtrade

Fairtrade is all about offering a better deal to small-scale farmers, workers and craftspeople in the developing world. By offering better prices, better working conditions and better terms of trade it enables them to build secure and sustainable livelihoods, take more control of their own futures and invest in the well-being of their families and communities.

As well as paying producers a guaranteed fair price, Fairtrade is distinguished by various key features:

  • The producers may receive payments in advance when required.
  • Long-term business relationships are established that allow the producers to plan ahead and survive lean periods.
  • It encourages sustainable production practices which help to protect the environment and counteract climate change.
  • Safe and decent working conditions are central, with strong emphasis on workers’ rights,
  • Women are enabled to play a full and equal role, and no child labour is used.

The World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) lists ten central principles of fair trade in more detail here

You can also find a lot of helpful information on the website of the Fairtrade Foundation here

How far Fairtrade has come

During the years since the shop opened, the wider Fairtrade market has grown at an astonishing pace and moved from the fringe to the mainstream. The range of Fairtrade products and the number of outlets in which they can be found has increased beyond anything we could have dreamed in 2003. Now all the major supermarkets and multi-nationals boast Fairtrade lines – which represents both a major triumph and a whole new set of challenges.

...and how far still to go

Although so much ground has been gained, the Fairtrade battle is far from won. The systems and practices which govern most of world trade are still firmly skewed against the poor and marginalised; the campaign for trade justice remains as necessary and urgent as ever. We are sure that Fairtrade at St Michaels, as an independent shop at the heart of the city, still has an essential role to play in this campaign, and our basic aims remain very much the same as when we first started up:

  • enabling Oxford shoppers to access a far wider range of Fairtrade goods than they could find anywhere else in the city centre
  • providing a market for small-scale producer groups around the world so that they can improve their livelihoods through trade rather than aid.
  • supporting dedicated Fairtrade companies in the ongoing campaign to extend the reach and benefits of fair trade
  • donating a substantial share of our profits to Fairtrade-related charities

The World Fair Trade Organisation

The WFTO is a global community of social enterprises committed to the principles and practice of Fair Trade. The organisations that make up its membership represent a wide variety of sizes and structures, but they all share the core mission of putting people and planet first in everything they do.

Spread across 76 countries, these Fair Trade Enterprises have a direct impact on nearly a million livelihoods. They transform local communities, pioneer upcycling, practice organic farming, champion refugee rights, and keep up the campaign for changes to the conventional systems of international trade. Three quarters of the workers, farmers and artisans empowered by their activities are women, and it is women who hold the majority of leadership roles. The WFTO supports them through a range of initiatives and projects, as well as providing the solidarity of a community and the strength of a collective voice.

The Fair Trade credentials of members are verified by the WFTO’s Guarantee System. Whereas other certifications like the Fairtrade Mark cover specific commodities or individual products, the WFTO Guarantee System assesses the entirety of an enterprise from its structure and business model to its operations and supply chains. When an organisation has proved through a rigorous audit process that it complies with the 10 Principles of Fair Trade, and puts the interests of producers and their communities at the very heart of its activities, then it can use the WFTO ‘Guaranteed Fair Trade’ label on all its products.

Many of the items on the shelves of Fairtrade at St Michaels carry this label. We are pleased and proud to support the WFTO community by buying from the following member companies:

  • Traidcraft

  • Pebble Hathay Buano Proshikon Society 

  • Ukuva iAfrica (Turkle Trading) 

  • Bombululu Workshops

  • Freeset Bags and Apparel Private Limited

  • Just Trading Scotland 

  • Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative Society 

  • Asha Handicrafts 

‘It’s a movement, a community and an idea’

WFTO website

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