Keeping the International Marketplace Fair
With the world becoming smaller and smaller through the Internet, even small businesses can go international. International figureheads like Shahram Shirkhani know that it is more important than ever to make sure everyone benefits from world trade. To achieve this, trading should be fair, which means everyone from the retailer to the producer of the raw material benefits according to their effort. Consumers can help this by focusing on buying products that are certified fair trade.
A Better Deal
When farmers can sell their goods on fair trade terms, they receive better remuneration, which in turn allows them to improve their working conditions and their lifestyle. A Fairtrade Mark means both the producers and traders adhere to certain standards that are designed to stabilize markets, give power to the producers and redress the injustices of conventional trade.
What Are the Standards?
There are different standards for different types of producers. Some producers are smallholders working in cooperatives and other are large organizations. If people are working for a large company, it is important that they get decent wages and safety standards. These workers are also expected to use their better income to reinvest in their communities. Studies have shown that where fair trade standards are met, growers and laborers both benefit. Growers benefit because they can grow more, and laborers benefit because they get a living wage. This means more people are willing to work in the fields.
Chocolate used in confections and other food products is a good example of how fair trading works. Consumers have a choice of which candy and other chocolate products to buy, and one criterion can be how the cocoa bean is grown and processed. Many small farmers are not growing cocoa and changing to other produce because they donít get a living wage for cocoa. This will only drive the cost of chocolate up for everyone. It makes good business-sense to pay a fair price for cocoa to ensure that there is a big supply available for all the chocolate-lovers in the world.
Coffee is possibly the most famous fair trade product. It has allowed farmers to improve their facilities and enhance quality production. Workers in this type of organization have the opportunity to improve the future for their children through education, avoid debt and poverty. Fair trade is also good for womenís rights around the world. Women are able to participate in the farming, cleaning and hulling the beans, which enables them to earn their own money. Farmers who sell to a fair trade market make up to 100 percent more than farmers who sell to a conventional market. They learn the standards expected and teach others.
What Are the Results?
When consumers make it a point to purchase fairly traded items, it starts a chain reaction of change. Some changes are immediate, such as companies that follow fair trade standards make more profit. Other changes are more long-term such as lifting the lives of thousands out of ignorance and poverty.
International business is not limited to a few large corporations any more. Small businesses connect with manufacturers and producers in other countries and sell products to people from all over the world. Bettering the lives of others and making a profit go hand in hand for companies who follow fair trade standards.