Many people use the term “Fair Trade”, but what does it actually mean?
In 2018, more than 250 organisations around the world united to answer this question. The Charter was its result: it represents a joint effort by global Fair Trade organisations to reaffirm the core principles and values of Fair Trade and to set a common vision for its future. The Charter aims to provide a unified framework and direction for the Fair Trade movement worldwide and define a common vision towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Business as usual is not delivering the change needed to meet the SDGs, adopted by the world’s nations on 25 September 2015. The International Fair Trade Charter aims at being a roadmap for change: it sets out a different vision, a world in which justice, equity, and sustainable development are at the heart of trade structures, business models, production and consumption patterns and practices so that social and environmental sustainability are incorporated by design.
In essence, Fair Trade seeks to foster opportunities for small producers while implementing environmental policies in the business, with a great focus on transparency, accountability, and fair trading practices. Additionally, Fair Trade initiatives advocate for awareness and change through ethical consumption and policy influence. By embracing the principles outlined in the International Fair Trade Charter, organisations and individuals unite in a common pursuit of more just and sustainable production patterns and a global trading system that contributes to achieving the SDGs and addressing pressing social and environmental challenges.
Key principles and goals outlined in the International Fair Trade Charter include:
- Creating Opportunities for Economically Marginalised Producers: Fair Trade is committed to providing better trading conditions and opportunities to small and/or marginalised producers, particularly those in difficult areas. This involves fair wages, safe working conditions, and respect for workers’ rights.
- Transparency and Accountability: Fair Trade organisations pledge to be transparent in their operations and decision-making processes. They are accountable for their social, economic, and environmental impacts.
- Fair Trading Practices: Fair Trade advocates for fair and equitable trading practices, which means offering fair prices, stable market access, and long-term relationships between buyers and producers.
- Capacity Building: Fair Trade initiatives focus on producers and workers by providing them with resources, skills, and opportunities for development.
- Environmental Sustainability: Fair Trade strives to promote environmentally sustainable practices, such as organic farming, no forever chemicals, waste reduction, and responsible use of natural resources.
- Advocacy and Awareness: The Charter encourages Fair Trade actors to engage in advocacy efforts, raising awareness about Fair Trade principles and influencing policies that support fair and ethical trade.
By signing the International Fair Trade Charter, organisations and individuals demonstrate their commitment to these shared principles and collaborate towards creating a more just and sustainable global trading system.
If you’d like to download and support the Charter, it is available at this link: https://www.fair-trade.website/the-charter-1