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Fair Trade Certified

Expert Advice - TheGreenOffice.com

The label “Fair Trade Certified” indicates that a product has been certified by TransFair USA, the only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States.  TransFair USA tracks each unit of Fair Trade product from producers on the international Fair Trade Register to importers, manufacturers, and distributors in the US. For every unit purchased from a Fair Trade producer group, TransFair USA receives supporting documentation—contracts, bills of lading, and invoices—from licensed importers. These documents demonstrate both that Fair Trade criteria were met and that farmers received the Fair Trade price.  Fair Trade principles include:

  • Fair prices: Democratically organized farmer groups receive a guaranteed minimum floor price and an additional premium for certified organic products. Farmer organizations are also eligible for pre-harvest credit.
  • Fair labor conditions: Workers on Fair Trade farms enjoy freedom of association, safe working conditions, and living wages. Forced child labor is strictly prohibited.
  • Direct trade: Importers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and empowering farmers to strengthen their organizations and become competitive players in the global economy.
  • Democratic and transparent organizations: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers decide democratically how to use their Fair Trade premiums.
  • Community development: Fair Trade farmers and farm workers invest Fair Trade premiums in social and business development projects like health care, new schools, quality improvement trainings, and organic certification.
  • Environmental sustainability: The Fair Trade certification system strictly prohibits the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), promotes integrated farm management systems that improve soil fertility, and limits the use of harmful agrochemicals in favor of environmentally sustainable farming methods that protect farmers' health and preserve valuable ecosystems for future generations.

These criteria were established by Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO), a consortium of Fair Trade groups in Japan, Canada, the US and 17 European countries. FLO makes annual inspection visits to producer groups on its Fair Trade Register to ensure that the benefits of Fair Trade relationships are reaching the farmers.

To learn more about Fair Trade and Transfair USA, visit its website http://www.transfairusa.org/