Fair Trade is growing throughout the world, with more and more manufacturers taking on the principles of Fair Trade every year. In this article we aim to tell you some facts about fair trade that you may or may not know. Some are simply the aims and goals of every fair trade organization, while others are facts and figures about Fair Trade across the world.
BAFTS (British Association of Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers) have announced that they will be holding the first ever BAFTS week from 21-28 September 2013
There are a number of benefits of fair trade for farmers and manufacturers in developing nations.
We hope, given time and consumer pressure, these practices will spread across more industries and more trades so that a greater proportion of workers in the developing world can enjoy the benefits of fair trade.
Stable and Fair Prices
Stable prices are maintained throughout the year, even when the market demand changes adversely. This is a good deal for those farmers who depend on crops as the only source of income.
In a normal market, farmers will run at a loss when the demand is low and production is high. Fair trade practices benefit the farmers in this regard.
Stable prices are important for manufacturers of other products as well as foodstuffs. For many products there is a strong seasonal demand, with various factors such as the weather and Christmas causing fluctuations in the demand. Many Fair Trade companies pledge to maintain a steady level of purchasing throughout the year to enable the farms and factories to maintain steady revenue streams and stable employment.
For a long time, as well as being concerned about the welfare of workers in developing nations, people have also been concerned about the fact that we are spending so much fuel and resources to ship products half way round the world.
While Fair Trade seeks to improve the lot of the workers who make our goods, as well as minimizing environmental impact of their operations, the goods still have to be shipped from the country of origin into the European and North American markets where they will be used.
Impact of shipping
At present, this shipping of goods round the world by sea or air has an environmental effect in terms of:
- Using up fossil fuels
- CO2 emissions from container shipping is estimated to be 4-5% of the global total.
- Sea pollution from oil spills
- Sound pollution affecting marine populations
- Ship impacts are known to be a large factor in whale mortality
- Waste water – grey water from washing ad showers etc. discharges chemicals into the oceans.
- Bilge water – smaller volumes of unclean water contaminated with leaks from machinery and engine spaces.
- Solid waste – Paper, cardboard, glass, plastics, metals. Much of this waste is incinerated at sea and the ash discharged.
To read more about this please see the Wikipedia article on the Environmental impact of shipping.
Lanka Kade makes wooden and brightly coloured, fair trade children’s toys and gifts. Their ranges have expanded over the years to include educational toys, play scenes, games, soft toys and bedroom decorations.
Here is a brief summary of the company and its ethos. Towards the end of the article Diane from Lanka Kade has been kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
Established in 1994 by Diane and Upul Soysa, all of Lanka Kade’s products are made in Sri Lanka, hence the company name which translates as “Sri Lankan Shop”.
Lanka Kade initially provided an outlet for small businesses in Sri Lanka, but over time, and with the addition of their first employee, Anne, in 1997, Lanka Kade started to design and develop their own range of educational toys and gifts.