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What is Fair Trade?
For decades, world trade markets have been dominated by large, mass producing companies. This practice has allowed the rich to become wealthier, while crushing the economy of smaller countries and communities, and running smaller farmers and producers out of business. Sometimes, unfair prices which do not even cover the cost of production are allowed, creating very little income for the small producer, and giving them no chance to compete. Here we examine who supports fair trade.
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Why is Fair Trade Important?
Fair trade products are set at a base price, which is set to cover the cost of production and still give the producer a profit. Big businesses and importers participating in fair trade are monitored to ensure they are paying the set price. This system boosts the economies, and allows the producers a chance to live on their wages as well as afford basic necessities such as housing, food, education, and healthcare. Boosting these micro economies helps boost the overall world economy.
The most widely known and traded commodity in fair trade is currently coffee beans. For more information on fair trade coffee, read this article.
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Who Supports Fair Trade?
Fair trade agreements have also been very good ways to open up foreign markets to both exporters as well as importers. Brazil, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Thailand, and Peru are just a few countries that have benefited from fair trade with countries like the UK, US, and Japan.
The impact and demand for fair trade has also reached larger businesses. Starbucks began supporting fair trade coffee beans in 2000, and recently retailers like Wal-Mart and grocers, and even McDonald's has joined the cause. These companies purchase ever growing amounts of product through fair trade, creating a positive impact. With more support from businesses like these, fair trade will continue to thrive, and may even surpass the old ways of trade.
It's also been said that fair trade is a political matter. This has proven true with much political support for it in the European Parliament, US government, and around the world. It's believed that fair trade beginning in Europe was simply meant to be a political statement against imperialism during the 1960's. To bring the issue closer to the public, celebrities like Brad Pitt, Eddie Izzard, Antony Worrall Thompson, Chris Martin, and bands like U2 have joined those who support fair trade and contribute to charities for it.
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How You Can Support Fair Trade
Consumer involvement does not require donations to any charities. Instead, consumers can do their part to support fair trade by simply purchasing Fair Trade Certified products. Purchasing these products continues the growth of the fair trade industry, and supports its causes. Fair Trade Certified products have a logo directly on them, so you can be sure they are legitimate. An individual who supports fair trade in this way does the most to improve the future for smaller producers and countries.