One of the easiest ways to help end extreme poverty is to simply start swapping products that you purchase regularly for those that are fairly traded and ethically sourced.
Many of the products we normally purchase such as tea, coffee, chocolate, and fruit are imported from developing countries. Fair trade aims to ensure that producers receive a fair price for their products and increase opportunities for equitable trade between developing and developed countries (via). By providing producers with a fair price for their products they can begin to make improvements to their wellbeing such as investing in education for their children or paying for health services for their families.
The simplest way to start swapping conventionally traded goods for fairly traded goods is to look for the Fairtrade Mark, which is displayed on products that meet international Fairtrade standards as set by the Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO).
In the UK and Canada you can also purchase products that display The Rainforest Alliance Certified seal, which ensures the product meets the standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network or the Forest Stewardship Council.
The Rainforest Alliance places emphasis on protecting biodiversity through sustainable farming practices and ensures fair prices for producers as a means of encouraging sustainable farming and putting an end to extreme poverty. They have an interesting breakdown showing the difference between a farm that pays fair wages and a farm that does not here.
In our home, we’ve swapped tea, coffee, chocolate, cocoa, and bananas with their Fairtrade equivalent and continue to seek out other products that we can swap. The Fairtrade Foundation provides a list of Fairtrade products. For the a list of products in the UK click here and for a list of products in Canada click here. The Rainforest Alliance provides the same info, just click on your country in this list. I’d love to hear about the swaps you’re making!
BONUS: For those of you who haven’t purchased your halloween treats yet, see if you can find Fairtrade alternatives! In the UK, Cadbury appears to sell a bag of treat size Fairtrade Dairymilk bars (at least at Sainsbury’s). Here is some information about Fairtrade halloween treats in Canada.