Fair Trade

Fair Trade is a form of Ethical Consumerism that relates specifically to farmers and producers working in most often in places like Africa, Southeast Asia and South America.  Fair Trade is about making sure these farmers and producers get paid fairly for their goods, but it is about a lot more.  Fair Trade also makes sure that men and women have the same employment opportunities, that no children are involved as labour, that environmental standards are met and that companies reinvest some of their profits back into the local communities.

There are a lot of different labelling systems that are used to monitor Fair Trade products including Fairtrade (the one we are most familiar with), Rainforest Alliance, Equal Exchange, and Fair Trade Certified.  There are also different labels for different products, for example, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifies that wood and paper come from sustainable sources that is traded fairly.

There are a number of places where Fair Trade fits with the Irish Primary and Post-Primary Curricula and we have included a few resources here.  Also don't forget our Going Beyond the Symbols Series (currently available for Post-Primary and Youth Work).

If you would like for your school to become a Fairtrade School, check out this information from Fairtrade Ireland on how to go about it:  http://www.fairtrade.ie/get-involved/fairtrade-schools/

Resources:

Playing Fair: The Study of Fairtrade Footballs  is an 8-minute long video that looks at the problems in non-Fairtrade football factories in Pakistan and talks to workers who describe the difference that Fairtrade has made to their lives.

Fair Miles:  Recharting the Food Miles Map looks at the inherent conflict between buying local for environmental reasons vs. buying Fair Trade in order to support overseas producers.