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5 myths about Fairtrade - What is Fairtrade ?

Tullika Bhalla
Jun 18, 2019

'Teach us how to fish - do not just give us the fish”

Thank you for being a part of our Fairtrade journey. We started exploring what is Fairtrade as a family in 2016. With the availability of Fairtrade coffee, sugar and chocolate, our interest was piqued.

So what is Fairtrade ?

Fairtrade is unique.  It is a simple mission to make a difference in the lives of the people who make things we love! It is associated with the development trade and grew as a response to poverty and the desire to empower farmers and workers. One thing that has increasingly become clear that Fairtrade is not about charity. It is about making communities and co-ops of artisans and other workers independent via an exchange of goods & money. This also ensures that we invest with artisans first and then account for operations and logistics cost.

As we progress in our journey to become more aware, ethical and Fairtrade savvy, we are addressing some of the myths we have heard along the way.Founder with one of the workers who makes Fairtrade table runners

Myth 1: FairTrade refers only to coffee and chocolate.

Reality: FairTrade includes a wide variety of agricultural and handicrafts including baskets, clothes, home and kitchen décor, tea, toys & wine.

Essentially, FairTrade is more than just paying Fair Wages. The trading partnerships are based on mutual respect & reciprocal benefits. The prices paid to reflect the hard work of the producers, environmentally sustainable products, good working conditions as well as transparent & accountable.

The World Fair Trade organisation has established 10 principles of Fair Trade that you can check out on this link. https://wfto.com/fair-trade/10-principles-fair-trade . Fair Trade Enterprises put people and planet first.


Myth 2: Fairtrade doesn’t encourage producers to improve quality

Reality: Handmade products naturally include variation and finishes that have not been perfected by machines.

However, producer groups are constantly working with organisations to improve quality & consistency. Like a good marriage, it involves constant communication and a willingness to commit. A continuous dialogue about customer requirements and production standards assure us that quality products will be bought into the market.

 Myth 3: Fair Trade results in more expensive goods for the consumer

Reality: Most FairTrade products are actually quite reasonably priced when compared to machine made comparable products. We work directly with the producers and cutting out middlemen means that we are able to keep our products affordable and make sure that the producers are being paid in time and are being paid a higher percentage and not just covering cost.



Myth 4: Fair Trade siphons off our jobs to other countries.

Reality: The abiding principle of Fairtrade is to improve the lives of the poorest of the poor. These people often lack even the basic necessities like access to clean water, food or even state aid. They lack alternate sources of income and often rely on Fairtrade coops to be trained and earn a living.

90% of Fairtrade products represent native products and crafts that stem from local culture or agriculture and not from developed countries.


Myth 5: Fair Trade is about paying developed world wages in the developing world

Reality: Wages are designed to provide fair compensation based on the true cost of production, and are not based on any developed world (North American or European) wage standards.

Fair wages are determined by a number of factors, including:

  • The amount of time, skill, and effort involved in the production
  • Minimum and living wages where products are made
  • The purchasing power in a community or areaWorkers making block print, recycle paper bags, cotton veggie bags
  • Other costs of living in the local context


Contact us on tullika@bohohomes.co.uk for any further information 

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