Fair trade hammocks and hanging chairs!
For many people, it isn't always clear how fair trade actually works. What's the difference between the Max Havelaar Fairtrade mark and brands such as Fairtrade Original, Amazonas or Naya Nayon? And how are fair trade products monitored?
Fair trade products are products purchased from producers in third world countries for a fair price. Because fair trade products are crucial for the promotion of sustainable development of export from less developed countries to western countries, the production process must meet a number of criteria.
Fair trade criteria
A fair trade product is only a fair trade product if it meets the fair trade criteria. Firstly, the living wage must be paid by the buyer of the fair trade products. Minimum criteria with regard to the health and safety of employees and the environment are also applied on plantations and in factories. Damage to the environment is limited as much as possible and preferably compensated, for example by planting trees.
Child labour is only permitted if the child makes a minimal contribution to the production of fair trade products. Forced labour is prohibited. In addition, fair trade producers must constantly work on improving the working conditions and product quality. To help the producer with the investments in the production process, the importer often pays an advance. Fair trade producers therefore actively participate in the sustainable development of export from third world countries.
A fair trade price
Producers of fair trade products should receive fair compensation from importers for the sustainable development of export. This fair compensation - or 'fair price' - is also called a 'living wage'. This living wage means that the producer of the fair trade products can earn a livelihood with the wages received. Anyone who produces fair trade products must be able to pay for food, clothing and shelter from their business operations.
It is also a requirement that the producer gets enough money for their fair trade products to allow their children to go to school. It is very difficult to establish a standard for a living wage. Importers and producers always look at local standards and determine a fair price for fair trade products based on that.
The 10 fair trade principles
1. Offer opportunities to disadvantaged producers
3. Fair trading practices
4. Responsible prices, living wages
5. No child labour, no forced labour
6. Equal opportunities
7. Good working conditions
8. Capacity building
9. Take care of the environment
10. Promote fair trade
Max Havelaar (Fairtrade Netherlands)
Max Havelaar is the independent quality mark for fair trade. Products with the Max Havelaar Fairtrade mark are produced and traded under fair conditions. It is commonly thought that Max Havelaar is a brand that markets its own products such as coffee. That is not the case. The Max Havelaar Foundation does not produce or sell anything itself.
HammockGiant.ie also sells products from Fairtrade Original and other brands for which no quality mark is available (yet) and therefore cannot always use this quality mark.
The European Fair Trade Association (EFTA) is a network of fair trade organisations in Belgium, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Spain and Switzerland. EFTA aims to make the collective import of fair trade products more efficient and effective through information exchange, trade cooperation and the development of collective stances.
In addition, EFTA has set itself the goal of promoting fair trade, both commercially and politically. Important activities here are collective campaigns and a collective lobbying strategy.
The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) is the worldwide organisation for fair trade. Members include producer organisations, importers and 'world shops' (fair trade shops). WFTO has more than 350 members. The members work together to develop a different, fairer course of action. WFTO functions as a promoter for fair trade and as a forum for the exchange of information between member organisations.