The Fairtrade difference is that we aim to provide every producer with a voice, empowering them to influence everything from setting a fair price for commodities to how their Fairtrade Premium is invested in their communities. While many certifiers don’t involve producers, we ensure everyone gets a vote, to sow the seeds for change that truly matters.
In a recent post for Fairtrade America, Lewis & Clark College professor and fair trade researcher Elizabeth Bennett discusses just this. She outlines why including producers in the decision-making process is vital, and why Fairtrade organisations across the globe have chosen this unique structure of governance.
It’s not a structure that is seen in most other development organisations, but at Fairtrade, we’ve seen that it works across the three producer networks in the Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America. And, with more than 1.6 million producers across these three regions, it’s important we choose a structure that encourages sustainable development for everyone involved.
According to Elizabeth Bennett, there are several reasons for this – and these reasons are all ways that Fairtrade is set apart from other development agencies. She outlines five key areas where the producers can thrive and be independent change makers within the Fairtrade system; a system that allows them to express their voices in every step of the decision-making process. Being able to access everything from training, suffrage and communication with international markets, producers can help shape for themselves the factors that influence their development.
It’s easy to get involved yourself. When you see a label on the shelf, ask who decides what’s fair – the producers or someone else entirely? Most labelling organisations will have this information readily available on their websites. You could also call the organisation to uncover valuable information. This way, you will keep yourself better informed and able to make a difference with your Fairtrade purchase.
Read Elizabeth’s original post for Fairtrade America and see how our international system aims to empower producers around the world.
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