Photo Courtesy of the Huffington Post
Yorba Linda High School

Opinion: The importance of buying “Fair Trade Certified”

Imagine yourself walking through your local supermarket, let’s say Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, etc., and you come across a product you have been meaning to purchase.

As you peruse the ingredients, nutrition facts and diagrammatic label, you notice the omnipresent affirmations listed on the back of the package. Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Paleo, Dairy-Free and a whole slew of others that you are moderately familiar with.

But then you notice a rather rare declaration that you have only seen on occasion, but have never known the basis behind: Fair Trade. You ponder it for a second, shrug it off, buy your groceries, and life goes on, but there is far more to fair trade then we make it out to be.

Fair Trade certified products are items that have exchanged at a fair price from their producers in developing countries to their consumers in developed nations. And according to the World Fair Trade Organization, by engaging in this type of market companies are “[contributing] to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers – especially in the South.”

Now, what does this all mean?

Well, for starters, companies in the United States and other developed nations that choose to source their products, ingredients, etc. from developing nations often take advantage of their global authority by negotiating a price that is far below what they would be able to adjudicate in their own country.

By doing so, the consumers are able to benefit, leaving the producer from the developing nation desecrated of proper reparation, and forcefully chained to a cycle of settling for what is less than adequate in order to hardly provide enough revenue and resources for themselves.

This not only is a heinous way of exploiting those who are deemed economically inferior based on their country’s developmental status, but is also one of the predominant reasons that these countries remain “developing” nations. And unknowingly we feed into these unscrupulous brands, preserving this cycle of corruption, and stunting our ability to progress as a unification of countries.

Luckily, the “miraculous” idea of actually exchanging products for the price that benefits both the producer and the consumer has started to gradually cultivate itself back into the global market.

Companies are realizing that economic and cultural improvement is far more important for the entirety of civilization rather than neglecting the welfare of developing nations. They are beginning to understand that keeping the greater part of society ignorant to the realities of quantitative exchanging is completely unethical and misleading, thus they actively label that they take part in the process of trading goods for a fair cost.

Now, why is it important to buy from brands that source their products/ingredients ethically? In short, it strays from the illegitimacy and arbitrary nature of cheating these producers out of the proper compensation they deserve for their efforts.

But on a grander scale, it not only allows for a “peoples first” ideology accrediting the possibility for global unification, but also has the capability to bolster the status of these developing countries thus improving healthcare, income levels, living conditions, political relations, social constituents, and technology.

Fair Trade is far more than just buying food or other products from “trendy brands,” rather it is the potential to ethically and economically progress as an aggregation of coalescence. If we cooperatively make an effort to buy most or all of our products that believe in this mission of a legitimate moral principle, we can only positively benefit and improve the contemporary global landscape.

“The only way for global progression to transpire is for developed nations to start reciprocating a sense of responsibility and unanimity rather than selfishly exploiting the resources and services of the countries that readily provide for them,” senior Daania Kalam said.

So next time, look for the label “Fair Trade Certified,” and you may be making a change for the prosperity of the masses.