Buy organic, buy gluten-free, buy natural, or don’t. Of course, I’ll argue all day why you should be buying organic. But ultimately, this a choice that we each make for our own health and lifestyle.
Buying Fair Trade though? This is a choice you make for other people.
As it stands, international trade is not sustainable for most producers in developing countries.
Take coconut farming for example. Our cocokind products are proudly Fair Trade certified, and a closer look into the crop’s industry explains why this is so necessary. Over the past several years, the exponential increase in demand for coconut/coconut-derivatives has not equated better wages for coconut farmers. In the Philippines, the second largest coconut producing country, coconut exports grew from 1,600 metric tons in 2008 to over 22,000 tons in 2014. However, according to the Fair Trade USA, the average coconut grower is still making only $1 per day. Let’s put this into perspective (as if this is necessary): it would take two full days of work for a coconut grower to purchase a single unit of coconut water in the U.S.
60% of coconut farmers in the country live in poverty, and thus ironically, the largest stakeholders in the Philippine economy are the poorest.
Where does Fair Trade step in? Fair trade is not charity – but rather it is sustainable improvement; it sets a standard for equitable trade. It ensures that farmers are paid wages that make sense and work in an environment that is safe (while also protecting the environment, by the way!).
As the Fair Trade USA states, Fair Trade standards regulate child and forced labor, childcare for mothers, safe working conditions, water conservation, and proper waste disposal. Additionally, the Fair Trade Community Development Premium allows farmers to earn an additional $40 and $90 per metric ton for each coconut sold vs. average sale price. Without these standards, low wages create unsustainable living situations, children are forced to miss school, women face discrimination with no protection, and the future of farming is insecure. Fair Trade protects the standard of life for farmers and their families.
Cocokind is one of the many new-school manufacturers that are positively impacting over one million Fair Trade farmers and families all over the world (in 58 countries!). We hope that you choose Fair Trade products as much as possible and help protect the people at the very beginning of the supply chain. They are the most important.
The following illustrations from Fair Trade USA are extremely powerful:
Why consumers should care about buying Fair Trade products
Thanks for caring, as always.