Fair Trade. It’s a phrase that has become quite popular in recent years as more and more people begin to evaluate their ability to impact the world. Social awareness and the idea of a global community are on the rise, and Fair Trade has played a significant role in this movement. But what does Fair Trade really mean and how does it affect retail?
“Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, disadvantaged producers and workers – especially in the South,” as defined by the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), the Network of European Worldshops (NEW) and European Fair Trade Association (FINE).
In laymen’s terms, Fair Trade is an approach to trade that supports disadvantaged producers by ensuring fair wages, safe working conditions, and a greater opportunity for growth. The organizations mentioned above, in addition to several others, have established standards to administer product certification. Products that receive Fair Trade certification must comply with production, processing, packaging and trading standards as set forth by recognized Fair Trade certifiers.
When the Fair Trade movement began, the most common certified products were goods like coffee, teas, beans and fruit. But the in the past few years, the Fair Trade marketplace has expanded into apparel, jewelry and home décor. In fact, the Fair Trade Federation issued a report in March 2009 that stated jewelry, apparel and handbags experienced the largest growth rate – 32%, 31%, and 21% respectively – of all fair trade products. The same report predicted that these segments of Fair Trade will continue to grow at the highest rate.
What does that mean for you as a retailer? The market for Fair Trade certified products is thriving, especially in the product type that you carry in your store – jewelry, accessories, apparel, and home décor. Your consumers want to buy Fair Trade products. More than 88% of Americans consider themselves to be a conscious and socially responsible consumer, according to a study conducted by BBMG.
While there’s no doubt about the growing awareness among consumers and their desire to create positive change through Fair Trade, there is a disconnect between wanting to buy Fair Trade and knowing where to buy it. The majority of consumers, despite being aware of Fair Trade, do not know where to purchase Fair Trade products or how to recognize the products in stores, according to Michael A. Long, author of The Potential for Consumption Based Social Movements: The Case of Ethical Consumerism.
This gives you an awesome opportunity, not only to bring in unique products but to take part in such an amazing movement. Dedicate a small area of your store to Fair Trade and have fun creating beautiful displays that show off your Fair Trade products. The possibilities are endless!
If you’re interested in carrying Fair Trade products in your store but aren’t sure were to start, check out Exotic World Gifts on MarketPlace. Exotic World Gifts has an extensive collection of beautiful handmade products – from jewelry to handbags and home accessories. It’s a great place to start looking for Fair Trade products to carry in your store. And, once you’re shelves are stocked, if you’re a TrafficBuilder subscriber, you can easily promote new products and the Fair Trade story thanks to Exotic World Gifts.
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