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 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
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.
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:
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:
Pebble Hathay Buano Proshikon Society
Ukuva iAfrica (Turkle Trading)
Freeset Bags and Apparel Private Limited
Just Trading Scotland
Holy Land Handicraft Cooperative Society
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