Proud member of:
About Fair Trade
Fair Trade is a growing international movement which promotes fair living wages to producers in developing countries. Fair Trade is not charity; it is about paying artisans and farmers a fair price for their hard work, which is of course how all trade should be!
However, the current global trading system (“Free Trade”) with its emphasis on maximizing profits is shockingly unjust – it favors multinational corporations at the expense of local communities and the environment. Many products being sold in the US are produced by exploiting people in developing countries. We believe that Fair Trade offers a viable alternative for consumers – it puts people ahead of profits, and enables all of us to be more conscientious of our purchases as we work together towards a more humane and just world.
Fair Trade purchases are a win-win situation for everyone. Consumers get beautifully handmade crafts and sustainably produced food items, while artisans and farmers receive steady fair wages and are given opportunities to break the cycle of poverty, put their children through school and maintain their cultural identity and dignity.
The Fair Trade Federation lists the following criteria to qualify a producer for membership:
- Paying a fair wage in the local context.
- Offering employees opportunities for advancement.
- Providing equal employment opportunities for all people, particularly the most disadvantaged.
- Engaging in environmentally sustainable practices.
- Being open to public accountability.
- Building long-term trade relationships.
- Providing healthy and safe working conditions within the local context.
- Providing financial and technical assistance to producers whenever possible.
The Fair Trade Resource Network publishes a list of FAQ’s that might help to answer some of your questions.
Today, the HOPE-partnered co-ops represent four different hill tribes: Karen, Lawa, Hmong, and Akha. It is not uncommon to hear up to four different languages in the HOPE workshop. Together we communicate in Thai. Together we laugh. Together we work. Together we sing. Together we hope.
Meet our producers