You’re in a farmer’s market and you see a beautiful handbag in turquoise that you adore. The bag is labelled as fair trade. How do you know if the bag is really fair trade or not?
Fair trade can be a tricky thing. It’s not like something saying 100% cotton where either it is or it isn’t. Fair trade is a more nebulous concept. Unless you know the people actually making the item, you have to trust a middle-man to accurately tell you where the item came from and how it was made.
One of the best places to go for more information is:
This is an international organization which works to ensure that fair trade happens. It lets a consumer research companies which claim to be fair trade companies. There are also a variety of ways to support fair trade there.
The best way to know, of course, is to look more into who you’re working with. Do some research. See if you can talk to people involved.
When you can buy local, you can be personally diligent about who you are supporting. It can be trickier when buying from somewhere further away – but that is rewarding as well. We are all in one big world and there are parts of our Earth where people begin life at an enormous disadvantage. Providing fair trade opportunities can help those people with education, food, and shelter.
I purchased rights to the photo of the person meditating through DepositPhotos / artist Lenar_Musin.