The Facts About Fair Trade

hands holding dirtThis October marks the 10th annual official Fair Trade Month in the United States. Fair Trade Month aims to raise awareness of why Fair Trade practices are important and to promote products and services that are delivered in a socially and commercially sustainable manner. As part of Compass Group’s Balance initiative, Canteen advocates and offers socially and environmentally responsible business practices and offers a variety of Fair Trade coffee, tea, and refreshment services products.

The Fair Trade movement began in the late 1950s and 60s with artisan crafts, but quickly spread to include agricultural products. The first Fair Trade coffee label was printed in the Netherlands in 1989, and today, coffee, tea, and cocoa have become some of the most common Fair Trade Certified products.

Fair Trade, most easily explained, is exactly what it sounds like: fairly traded goods. It means the producers of Fair Trade goods, often located in developing countries, are fairly compensated. Fair Trade principles include fair wages, fair work conditions, direct trade, transparent business practices, environmental sustainability, and community development. Thanks to strict certification standards, Fair Trade producers are taught sustainable production processes and are empowered to fight poverty within their communities, with a community development fund baked into Fair Trade compensation. By supporting Fair Trade Certified products, you support any number of causes Fair Trade producers have dedicated this portion of their earnings toward, including women’s rights, education, environmental protection, health care, and democracy. As an added benefit, most Fair Trade products are either handcrafted or produced in small batches, meaning a higher-quality end result.

As more buyers become aware of Fair Trade practices and products, the Fair Trade industry has continued to grow steadily over the past decade. Canteen offers a number of coffee, tea, and refreshment services companies who have Fair Trade product options, including Alterra, Green Mountain Coffee, and more.

In honor of Fair Trade Month, you can take a Fair Trade Month pledge online to commit to buying Fair Trade products. Visit Fair Trade USA or Canteen’s product guide to explore Fair Trade product options, or contact us with any questions.

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