Have you read about the awful recent garment factory collapse stories in Bangladesh? Do you know what fair trade coffee or what a fair trade banana is? Well, here it is. According to Elizabeth Henderson, an organic farmer for 30 years who helped organize the Domestic Fair Trade Association, "a fair price is the right price with a triple bottom line people-profit-earth."
Fair Trade began with such crops as bananas, coffee and cocoa from South America because the local farmers were being exploited in the interest of a low sale price and the biggest possible profit for Dole or Chiquita or Chock-Full-O'Nuts or whoever else. The idea of Fair Trade is a facet of the "new economics," the newly arising cultural paradigm of watching out for all of us, not just some of us - the health of the farm worker, a fair wage for the farm worker, a sustainable agriculture that does not harm the earth, a healthy product for the consumer, and a fair profit for the banana exporter/importer or cocoa powder maker. See WFTO and Fair Trade USA for more information.
Fair Trade is a win-win situation, all parties involved profit from it; non fair trade is win-lose, because only one side wins. Of course this means that the end product costs a bit more. But what's wrong with that if in the end we all profit from it?
The DFTA (Domestic Fair Trade Association) now promotes the same principles of health, justice and sustainability on a domestic level. And, to complete my loop to the recent garment factory disasters, through all our awakening to these issues the beautiful win-win principles of Fair Trade will surely make a leap to the garment factories abroad so those workers can work in safe buildings and work for fair wages.