Arguing the Facts with Reality

Fair Trade FactsFair trade facts are a bit hard to argue. Most opponents to fair trade often site how fair trade practices interfere with the free market. But, there is more to life than money. Most people have no idea of just how exploitive many situations are around the world for individuals and families in many industries. Most cannot make a sustainable wage and many have huge loads of debt because they do not make enough money on which to live. Here is one fact 2.7 billion people live on less than $2 US per day. That is almost half the world’s population.

Here are some other fair trade facts. If a consumer pays $3 US for a designer cup of coffee in the United State, $.02 US is what the family farmer who grew the coffee beans would make in conventional trade. In fair trade, the farmer receives a social premium of around $.10 US per kilo for non-organic coffee, or $.20 US per kilo for organic. Around 80% of the organic coffee sold in the US each year qualifies as fair trade coffee. Sales of organic and fair-trade coffee continue to grow significantly each year. Many producers of fair trade products also have to sell to conventional trading channels at much lower prices.

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Here are some more fair trade facts. Of the total goods exchanged globally, only .01% of that is through fair trade practices. If you look at the number of so-called financial experts raving against it, you would think it was a much larger percentage of the market. But, the amount of fair trade going on continues to grow significantly each year. Many consumers are becoming more aware of the effects of globalization on producers in developing nations. There is much growth to happen in the future.

Fair trade facts offer other insights. Over 200 million children in the world work each day. Many of them work in unregulated agricultural enterprises in third world countries. A good number of them are forced labor since their parents sold them to traffickers. They work in hazardous conditions with harsh agrochemicals and dangerous machinery. Fair trade certification requires no forced labor and no exploitive child labor. It requires democratic and transparent financial statements for producers and buyers alike. It provides for environmental sustainability. It gives people a chance to pull themselves out of poverty with a helping hand. There is no charity involved. Just a fair practice for all involved.

Some Recommended Fair Trade Books