Posted: June 13th, 2012 | Author: Franziska | Filed under: Human Rights | Tags: Chamraj, Fair Trade, Fair Trade International, Fair Trade Label Organization Certificate, Fair Trade Label Organization International, Fair trade Organization, World Fair Trade Organization Asia
For many of us a good cup of coffee or tea symbolizes a better start of the day and has become indispensible. It might also mean a small break from work or a moment to spend with family and friends. However, for the farmers as well as planation works coffee and tea means life and they are highly depending on it. Every day, when we decide for or against buying a Fair Trade product, we are making an important decision. Did you ever consider that a cup of good coffee could also mean to influence the lives of people we do not even know?
Most of the world’s coffee and tea is produced in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) states that these developing countries are the parts of the world, which are most struck be poverty and exploitation, because of their dependence on the world economy. According to the Fair Trade Label Organization International (FLO), a non-governmental organization promoting awareness for Fair Trade, two billion people across these continents suffer from the fluctuation of gas and aliment prices. It directly influences the worker’s income and their for the amount of money to spent each month. These fluctuations may have severe consequences for the people, as it results in the loss of jobs, incurred debts and finally leads to impoverishment.
One option to reduce the suffering of the plantation workers and farmers is to choose Fair Trade products. It offers millions of people a way out of poverty. The FLO states that approximately 1.2 million people in Latin America, Africa and Asia are directly profiting from the Fair Trade System. Furthermore, the FLO mentions that if the family members are considered as well the number of people profiting from Fair Trade increases to 7.5 million.
The objective of Fair Trade is to ensure that underprivileged farmers and planation workers receive a stable income, have access to basic security standards and health care. Additionally, it focuses on establishing direct, long-term trade between the producers and the distributers of the western world. In order to ensure that the Fair Trade regulations are adhered to the Fair Trade Label Organization International Certificate (FLOCERT) has been established. It is an independent organization which is responsible for certifying the producers and distributors. The certificate provides developed world with the knowledge that the products offered are produced according to the international standards of Fair Trade. These standards focus on three main pillars, which are economy, environment and social justice. Any cooperative or plantation has to consider sustainability to protect our environment and especially the environment of the producers. Furthermore, fair payment and self-determined work and democratic decision-making are key factors for receiving the certificate.
One example of these Fair Trade cooperatives is the Chamraj Tea Plantation in the south of India. It is the home of many families and offers jobs to 1,000 people. A part of the generated revenue will be provided to the workers of the plantation. The Joined Body, a democratically elected board, is responsible for the distribution of the bonuses. The money is invested into social projects, such as health care, education and retirement payments. Due to these Fair Trade bonuses, the children of the plantation families have access to education, workers are able to receive medical care if necessary and the elderly are no burden to their families anymore.
Considering the families of the Chamraj tea plantation, I believe that every cup of coffee or tea we buy influences someone’s life. This demonstrates the interconnectivity of today’s world. For me, the Fair Trade concept is a positive effect of the globalization, as it is connecting people. We have the opportunity to create a greater justice in trade by purchasing Fair Trade products. I believe that this creates a certain commitment to consider the people in need, as they are depending on our buying decisions. Fair Trade offers new perspectives for the unprivileged and provides them with a way out of poverty.
The World Fair Trade Organization states that 600 cooperatives and plantations, of all sectors in more than 60 comply with the Fair Trade standards. Therefore, I encourage you to be a respectful shopper. Utilize your purchasing power wisely and change the life of millions of people. Offer our fellow human beings the opportunity the live a decent life by buying Fair Trade products.