Global Citizens - Make an Impact!
From Slave Trade to Fair Trade - 21st Century Global Citizens
Products of Slavery
Today, products of modern day exploitation are all around us; in things we use everyday of our lives. The clothes we wear, the food we eat and surprisingly in many other products.
Did you know that many cheap cotton clothes, trainers and jeans are made in so-called 'sweat shops' in countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and India? Or that some chocolate, coffee and tea is harvested by people worked to exhaustion in West Africa, Brazil, and China?
These people work in conditions which do not meet national or international labour standards. They are paid less than minimum wage, have no access to work unions and work long hours in poor and unsafe working conditions.
The Fairtrade System
Today 'Fairtrade' is a rapidly growing alternative system of trade which ensures that producers and workers in developing countries get a better deal from international trade. Just like the sugar boycott started by the abolitionists 200 years ago, Fairtrade is a campaign to encourage customers to buy fairly produced goods, rather than those produced in conditions described above.
International Fairtrade standards have been created to: ensure producers in the developing world get a fair and stable price for their goods, ensure workers are not exploited, provide a Fairtrade investment premium which can be invested in social, economic and environmental development projects, enable pre-financing for producers who require it, give producers a stronger position in word markets, and clear minimum and progressive criteria to ensure that the conditions for the production and trade of a product are socially and economically fair and environmentally responsible.
The FAIRTRADE Mark on products guarantees that these standards have been met and producers and workers receive the extra Fairtrade premium to invest in projects to improve their lives such better access to education and healthcare and the provision of basic facilities such as safe water supplies and sanitation . It also means a closer link between consumers and producers,which is crucial as our worldgets more and more inter-dependent and we are becoming even more globally aware.
21st Century Global Citizens!
Similar to the eighteenth and nineteenth century sugarbowls labelled “Not Made by Slaves” (see images on previous page)today you can choose to buy goods which carry the FAIRTRADE Mark which guarantees that international Fairtrade standards were met. By buying Fairtrade certified and other fairly traded or ethically produced goods, consumers today can take the same stand and make the same points about slavery and human rights as consumers two hundred years ago. They can use their purchasing power to make a difference to people at the other side of the globe!!
To find out more about Fairtrade and how your school can get involved, visit the Fairtrade Foundation Schools website link below.
'Fairtrade', 'FAIRTRADE' or 'Fair Trade'?!
There are several ways of referring to trade that is fair and this often leads to confusion! Below are some explanations:
This is the word referring to the specific system governed by Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) and its members including The Fairtrade Foundation in the UK.
This word (in capitals) is used only with reference to the ‘FAIRTRADE Mark’. (Some products on the Global Citizenship interactive may carry this mark for example.)
This phrase relates to the wider and more general practise of trading in a fair manner, resulting in products that are “fairly traded”. (Some products on the Global Citizenship interactive, for example, may be fairly traded but will not carry the FAIRTRADE Mark.)