FAQ

What are some of the benefits of Fair Trade?

Fair Trade principles and practices help producers in developing countries by providing:

  • Safe and healthy working conditions free of forced labor, child labor, or abusive situations.
  • Opportunities for women, minorities and others who may be discriminated against for various reasons.
  • Advance payments and micro loans that help new businesses get established on solid ground.
  • Education and training in business practices, sustainable methods and market trends.
  • Holistic community development including electricity, clean water, nutrition, health care and education.

  • What is the difference between Fair Trade and Free Trade?

    In short, Fair Trade benefits people and Free Trade benefits multinational corporations. The two names sound similar and are often confused, but the two ideas are very different.

    Free trade is a regulatory approach to trading between nations. Agreements are made that certain goods will not be subject to government interference such as taxes, tariffs, or blockades. The goal of Free trade is to open up Third world countries as potential new markets and sources of cheap labor and resources.

    Free trade usually does not include minimum safety, human rights and wage standards, as these are not consistent with the goals of free trade. Fair trade, however, places these issues at its core, insisting on reasonable compensation for workers and reasonable safety, health and human standards of workers.

    Who determines Fair Trade standards and guidelines?

    Most fair trade import organizations are members of, or certified by one of several national or international federations. These federations coordinate, promote, and facilitate the work of fair trade organizations. The following are some of the largest:

  • The Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO), created in 1997, is an association of three producer networks and twenty national labeling initiatives that promote and market the Fair trade Certification Mark in their countries.

    The FLO labeling system is the largest and most widely recognized standard setting and certification body for labeled Fair trade. It regularly inspects and certifies producer organizations in more than 50 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. However, only products from certain developing countries are eligible for certification, and must be from cooperatives.

  • The World Fair Trade Organization (formerly the International Fair Trade Association) is a global association created in 1989 of fair trade producer cooperatives and associations, export marketing companies, importers, retailers, national, and regional fair trade networks and fair trade support organizations. In 2004 WFTO launched the FTO Mark which identifies registered fair trade organizations (as opposed to the FLO system, which labels products).

  • The Network of European Worldshops (NEWS!), created in 1994, is the umbrella network of 15 national Worldshop associations in 13 different countries all over Europe.

  • The European Fair Trade Association (EFTA), created in 1990, is a network of European alternative trading organizations, which import products from some 400 economically disadvantaged producer groups in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. EFTA's goal is to promote fair trade and to make fair trade importing more efficient and effective. The organization also publishes yearly various publications on the evolution of the fair trade market. EFTA currently has eleven members in nine different countries.

  • In 1998, these four federations created together FINE, an informal association whose goal is to harmonize fair trade standards and guidelines, increase the quality and efficiency of fair trade monitoring systems, and advocate fair trade politically.1

    Are you a Non-profit?

    No, we like to think of ourselves as a "not just for profit". We do not ask for donations or operate on outside funding of any kind. Our goal is to be sustainable so we can continue to support the artisans we represent. Many businesses are focused solely on profits. We strive to put people over profits and be good stewards with every penny that passes through our hands.

    In addition to our daily work for the artisans we represent, our company supports children through Compassion International in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Haiti, Honduras, India, Columbia, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic.

    We also work closely with and support two ministries in Uganda that are very close to our heart: Pastors Discipleship Network and Global Hands of Hope.