How does Fair Trade Help People and the Planet?

Learn more about why Fairtradehelps.org was launched and why you should care about fair trade and sustainability.

Fair trade is a movement aimed at helping people help themselves. It not only pays fair wages to producers, but also supports them by supplying financial and technical assistance, respecting cultural identity and the individual, developing long term relationships with artists and artist groups, protecting the environment, and educating consumers about the effects of how they spend their dollars. Fair Trade is a system designed to help people while creating sustainable development for families and their communities.

As a fair trade business, we truly believe that ethical commerce can help people and the planet. By caring about the people who make our food and decorate our home, we can build connections around the world and make it a better place. Shifting our consumer spending to support those things we value will make a difference to producers all over the globe and influence legislature and the marketplace. Every business and government official is listening to what consumers say. And whether you know it or not, you are voting with your dollars.

As part of our dedication to helping people and the planet, we have launched fairtradehelps.org as an information resource that will help our stores, customers, and other consumers understand the significant connections between how fair trade helps people and fosters protection of the environment. From deforestation to over hunting, a great many of the ecological troubles that affect Latin America and other parts of the world can be linked directly to poverty.

Why Fair Trade:

  • If you care about people, it makes sense!
  • Fair Trade organizations work with artists and producers to determine a fair price for their craft or commodity that will allow them to exceed their cost of production and be able to improve their lives through more nutritious food, better education, and access to healthcare.
  • In return for strong relationships between fair trade stores, wholesalers and producers, you the consumer will often find some of the highest quality and unique goods on the market. Despite this, fairly traded products typically remain quite affordable since fair trade organizations and companies often don’t incur middleman or high marketing costs. They keep costs reasonable while giving a greater portion of the good’s price to the artist.
  • Fair trade benefits workers and communities by spreading profits more equitably and stimulating the local economy. Profits are often re-invested into community projects, such as health clinics, childcare, and education.
  • Many FT members work directly with producers to develop products based on a sustainable use of their natural resources. This gives the communities a reason to preserve and maintain their environment.
  • Many FT organizations provide financial assistance to producers through loans or by supplying prepayments so producers can cover the costs of raw materials. Production and development of products based on cultural traditions is encouraged.
  • Fair Trade Member’s finances, policies, and business practices are open to the public. In fact, fair trade tours allow consumers and store buyers to visit many of the cooperatives and family workshops in person.
  • Fair trade is a global effort; it’s working in Peru, Asia, and even the United States.
  • Fair trade is a commitment to various producer groups. This means that a fair trade company strives to continually provide work and help for specific groups and communities. It’s not just a spurt of cash and then back to poverty (or near it) – it’s more than a one time deal.

53 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jordan  |  January 15, 2010 at 6:14 am

    when is fairtrade friday

    Reply
    • 2. lucumadesigns  |  January 15, 2010 at 11:31 am

      Hi Jordan,
      I’m not familiar with Fair Trade Friday, though there are always FT events going on. Fair Trade Fortnight 2010 is from Feb 22 – March 7. You can learn more here: http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/thebigswap/about_the_big_swap/

      Also, World Fair Trade Day is Saturday May 8th, 2010. Visit the official site to learn how you can participate: http://www.worldfairtradeday10.org/

      Reply
      • 3. alex  |  April 30, 2013 at 7:19 pm

        yep i never knew about this though :)

  • 4. AJ  |  February 24, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    when is fair trade friday plz tell

    Reply
    • 5. lucumadesigns  |  February 24, 2010 at 1:11 pm

      Hi AJ, World fair trade day this year is May 8 (a Saturday). I’m unfamiliar with FT Friday, but there are several events going on…. World Fair Trade Day, Fair Trade Fortnight, etc.. you can see more about what’s happening on World FT Day here: http://www.worldfairtradeday10.org/ Cheers! ~Liz

      Reply
  • 6. WillBill Baines  |  February 6, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Hi, I am WillBill an I need this for my homework.

    How many people Fair trade help?

    Thank you! :)

    Reply
    • 7. lucumadesigns  |  February 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm

      Hi WillBill,
      That is a great question. As I can only speak for Lucuma Designs, better to contact the Fair Trade Resource Network about global numbers & statistics for fair trade. Their website is: http://www.ftrn.org
      Cheers!

      Reply
  • 8. aj  |  March 6, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    im doing a project on fairtrade and i think fairtrade is a really good idea!!! keep up the good work guys!!!

    Reply
  • 9. Mariah Diekevers  |  March 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    How does Fair Trade help people in Latin America? How does FT work? What countries does it help? How can i make a difference ( what products can i buy?)

    Reply
    • 10. lucumadesigns  |  March 29, 2011 at 12:27 pm

      Hi Mariah,
      Great questions! There are companies empowering people all over the world, including Latin America! Fair Trade is hard to explain quickly, but it generally is practiced in 3rd world countries with established cooperatives or family workshops. It revolves around fair wages, safe working conditions, retaining cultural identity, environmental stewardship, and building long term artist and community relationships. You can make a difference by learning more about fair trade, educating others, and buying fair trade foods & crafts. Right now, Fair trade constitutes just a small bit of the $$$ wheel for gifts and commodities. But as each person chooses to make a difference, the difference starts to be made! You can learn even more at the Fair Trade Resource Network and at the Fair Trade Federation. At the FTF site, there’s even an option to search for stores in your area. Hopefully, you can get some great things from them, or request fair trade in your other favorite local stores. Cheers! ~Liz

      ps. – oh yeah, and some products you might find are sugar, tea, coffee, bananas, baskets, toys, clothing, finger puppets, home decor, garden decor, tabletop accessories… all kinds of things!

      Reply
  • 11. lucumadesigns  |  April 13, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Hi Daniel,
    I’m glad to hear you are checking out fair trade! What in particular are you wondering? Some great resources are http://www.ftrn.org and www.fairtradefederation.com.
    Cheers!
    Liz

    Reply
    • 12. amber carrot  |  October 3, 2011 at 7:38 am

      i think fairtrade is a good idea because it helps people who are not as lucky as us

      Reply
  • 13. suzie  |  January 11, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    hi my geography homework is about fair trade , and i would just like to know in what ways can fair trade improve or help a place / the environment.

    Reply
    • 14. lucumadesigns  |  January 11, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      Good luck with your homework! Fair Trade can improve a place by supplying work and/or better wages to small communities or disenfranchised people groups. For example, some FT companies specifically help poor widows or people who’ve been victims of human trafficking or political oppression. As a structure Fair trade operates under several principles & guidelines: http://www.fairtradefederation.org/ht/d/sp/i/8447/pid/8447.

      Environment: many crafters use reclaimed, recycled, or renewable materials to create a craft or organic farming methods for food. And since most work is done by hand, there is limited (electric, gas, etc) energy being used to make a product.

      Reply
      • 15. jack  |  February 25, 2013 at 1:02 pm

        thanks that’s helped me as well on my home work

  • 16. kate  |  March 13, 2012 at 11:38 am

    hi im doing my last project in dida in year 11 how does buying fair trade chocolate help the farmers who grow the produce tha katie

    Reply
    • 17. lucumadesigns  |  March 13, 2012 at 11:53 am

      Hi Katie,
      Good luck with your project! There’s a great documentary called “The Dark Side of Chocolate” available at the Fair Trade Resource Network. You will find good information there and may have some success speaking directly to chocolate companies such as Divine Chocolate, Equal Exchange, Green & Black’s Organic, Theo, or Alter Eco. They have first-hand insight into what’s going on in the fields.
      Cheers!
      Liz

      Reply
  • 18. Munazzah  |  October 23, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    I have been researching fair trade for my homework however apparently it is not all as it seems. According to some sources, fairtrade does not only mean a higher pay for the producers but people whole come in to the production chain such as, wholesalers, lorry drivers etc who also work in FT. This whole chain of distribution, yes changes the profit of the producer back in these poorer countries but barealy as much of the mony is paid to the factories and things that come in the chain to get to the consumers. I dont understand now what to write in my presentation as I will be presenting to quite a large number of people. Is fair trade fair? I am really confused. Hope you could answer my question.

    Reply
    • 19. lucumadesigns  |  October 23, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      Hi Munazzah,
      Great thoughts and question. Fair Trade is a bit complicated, but it is good! There are normally 3 parts of the production chain. The producers, the distributors, and the stores. Like any business, each part of the chain needs to cover its costs, so you will almost always notice that the final mark-up is much more than the initial costs. But, remember, producers in fair trade are paid fair wages, and in many cases work with the distributor/wholesaler to decide costs that are fair & worthwhile for them. Most fair trade companies are producing handmade things, and do not have a factory to pay.

      Other things to consider are the other aspects of fair trade. For example, as fair trade distributors (aka wholesalers) work with groups long term to promote economic development in the area. Wholesalers also provide much needed language, business, money, and other support. Fair trade wholesalers often also provide new product/design ideas and work to retain cultural identity in producer groups and help women. You can read more about the principles of fair trade here: http://www.fairtradefederation.org/ht/d/sp/i/8447/pid/8447 . Good luck on your research. Please feel free to call us 877-858-2862 – ask for Don or Alessandra or the Fair Trade Federation for more information.
      Cheers! ~ Liz

      Reply
  • 20. Beth  |  February 2, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    What methods does fair trade use to build relationships with their consumers?

    Reply
    • 21. lucumadesigns  |  February 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      Hi Beth,
      Great question! This is something that is ever on our minds. Many companies use product tags or their websites to build relationships with consumers. And, I’ve even heard of some fair trade tours, which allow consumers to visit another country and visit Fair Trade workshops there. Cheers!
      Liz

      Reply
  • 22. Charlie  |  March 6, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    How many people do you roughly help a year? thanks

    Reply
    • 23. lucumadesigns  |  March 6, 2013 at 1:30 pm

      Hi Charlie,
      The fair trade company this blog is affiliated with works with 300+ artisans in Peru. The work we bring them helps those 300+, their children/dependents, and the town as a whole.

      Reply
  • 24. yunz  |  April 17, 2013 at 10:54 am

    how trade can promote development?

    Reply
    • 25. lucumadesigns  |  May 1, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Hi Yunz,
      Would you clarify your question a bit for me? Trade development? social? economical? As a broad answer, Fair trade works to develop communities in all of those areas by pairing long-term relationships with sustainable business practices. Sometimes it looks like developing a new product out of a native material more sustainable (like these guys for example: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/475480645/project-piola ), or providing work for single moms, etc. There’s a lot of great resources on the Fair Trade Federation website and also FTRN.org. hope that helps!

      Reply
  • 26. Allie  |  April 28, 2013 at 6:21 am

    How does Fairtrade help children to receive an education?
    Thank you

    Reply
  • 27. Flowerbubblies  |  May 10, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    could i have some info to put on a poster about fashio and fairtrade? thank you :)

    Reply
    • 28. Flowerbubblies  |  May 10, 2013 at 2:17 pm

      hurry up and answer this please, my project is late :O

      Reply
      • 29. lucumadesigns  |  May 10, 2013 at 2:29 pm

        HI Flowerbubblies,
        You are welcome to use any information on our blog for your poster, so long as it is not for reprint and sale. Cheers!

  • 30. Guppie  |  May 22, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    How does fair trade help farmers? Danke shon.

    Reply
  • 32. ines  |  May 25, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Hello everyone! I am having a hard time trying to determine which environmental benefits fair trade has on our planet. Could some one give me a hand by clarifying what positive consequences fair trade has on the environment!
    Thanks in advanced

    Reply
    • 33. lucumadesigns  |  May 28, 2013 at 11:49 am

      Hi Ines,
      It is a complicated thing, so thanks for your question! Fundamentally, not everything in fair trade is environmentally sustainable so it is a bit hard to quantify, BUT it is a principle of the fair trade movement to cultivate environmental stewardship . Often times, this comes to play in organic farming methods (shade grown coffee, organic bananas, etc), or in using recycled or reclaimed materials for products. Fair trade also strives to retain cultural identity and frequently artists use locally sourced natural materials and traditional craft techniques that are more eco-friendly.
      The topic is immensely complicated but you can find a little more info here and here. I hope it gives you a better sense. Cheers! ~Liz

      Reply
  • 34. simran  |  June 16, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    who does fair trade help and how? please tell me asap

    Reply
    • 35. lucumadesigns  |  June 17, 2013 at 10:17 am

      Fair trade mainly helps people in the developing world. The idea is that companies can responsibly source products. There are fair trade companies working all over the world. They work with families or cooperatives and aim to make the world a better through fair wages, good work conditions, protecting the environment, etc. You can read more about the principles of fair trade at the Fair Trade Federation (www.fairtradefederation.org)

      Reply
  • 36. Dabean Lee  |  September 9, 2013 at 2:50 am

    Has fair trade made a difference? And if it has how?

    P.S. Nice website Thanks

    Reply
  • 37. louie  |  February 16, 2014 at 5:56 am

    thats a good website ;)

    Reply
    • 38. lucumadesigns  |  February 17, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Thank you Louie!

      Reply
  • 39. Katie  |  February 26, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I used this website for my homework :) Great help! :)

    Reply
  • 40. josie  |  March 23, 2014 at 8:30 am

    what does fair trade do for us though. i undertsand how it helps the farmers but what does it do for us in our community.

    Reply
    • 41. lucumadesigns  |  March 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      Hi Josie,
      Great question! Most of the work in Fair trade is overseas, so its not something that you normally associate with the local community. We have found that those involved in Fair trade are often more conscious of their local community, as it brings attention to the questions: “where did this come from?” “how was this made?” “was it made fairly and with care?”. These are all questions we ask once we begin to ponder the justice in both food and crafts. And in that sense, it ties in nicely to the local community; they are questions that drive us to buy from local farmers, crafters, and shops. And in some towns, they even have “fair trade towns” where stores are asked/required to carry a certain % of fair trade items in their stores. I hope this gives you a little sense.. great question and great thinking!
      Liz

      Reply
  • 42. Nancy  |  June 8, 2014 at 4:07 am

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% sure. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Appreciate it

    Reply
    • 43. lucumadesigns  |  June 16, 2014 at 10:46 am

      HI Nancy,
      It’s not expensive at all. Different blog hosting sites have different setup fees, but for the basics, you can find a lot of templates and such for free.
      Cheers!
      Liz

      Reply
  • 44. Elisa  |  June 11, 2014 at 7:12 am

    It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • 45. Deena  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Wonderful post! We will be linking to this particularly great article on our site. Keep up the good writing.

    Reply
  • 46. Bernadette  |  June 11, 2014 at 10:51 am

    This excellent website definitely has all the info I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

    Reply
  • 47. Alejandrina  |  June 11, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all folks you actually realize what you’re speaking about! Bookmarked. Please also visit my website =). We may have a link trade agreement between us

    Reply
    • 48. lucumadesigns  |  June 16, 2014 at 10:18 am

      Hi Alejandrina,
      What’s your website? I’d love to take a look.Thanks!
      Liz

      Reply
  • 49. Gabriela  |  June 11, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Hey! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Cheers

    Reply
    • 50. lucumadesigns  |  June 16, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Hi Gabriela,
      Sure thing! Thanks!
      Liz

      Reply
  • 51. Kenton  |  June 11, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Do you have any video of that? I’d care to find out some additional information.

    Reply
    • 52. lucumadesigns  |  June 16, 2014 at 10:17 am

      Hi Kenton,
      At the moment, we don’t have any video but you can find some on youtube from other companies also working in fair trade.
      Cheers!
      Liz

      Reply
  • 53. Marla  |  June 11, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Thanks for finally talking about >How does Fair Trade Help People and the Planet? | Fair Trade Helps <Loved it!

    Reply

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