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Fair Trade India | Fair Trade Suppilers and Buyers in India

Fair Trade refers to a social movement that is concerned with giving better prices to the actual producers of products in developing nations across the world. This movement started way back in the 1970s and has continued till date, though with changes in form and structure. The basic motto of fair trade is to ensure that people associated with the primary sector get proper prices for their produces. In order to facilitate such anti-exploitative measures, patrons of fair trade established World shops to sell their products and in return give the producers proper remunerative prices. The initial purview of fair trade was restricted to banana, cocoa, sugar, handicrafts, tea, wine, coffee, cotton, flowers, fruits, honey and gold. However, with time the definition of fair trade has changed and also the products that they deal with.

As time passed, fair trade gained recognition and became a more formal agreement. Countries were brought into the purview of this particular trade practice. Since the basic motto of fair trade is to become vocal against imperial standpoints, it was initially faced with resistances from various quarters of the administration. But the firm resolute practitioners of fair trade ensured that they sold their products through these Worldshops across the developed countries of the western world at better prices than normal products claiming their products to be manufactured and grown under circumstances that can be said to be not only anti-exploitative but also adhering to various compliances that make the production meet their standards. At an initial level, these Worldshops were set up throughout Europe and the US to sell these products and also launch campaigns against foreign domination. Though at first these movements gained ground, slowly the stance became lacklustre and the policy makers of fair trade had to think of changing their strategies to carry on with this alternative trade practice.

Today fair trade is a much more standardized and formalized authority dealing in goods not just restricted to the ones mentioned above. In fact, fair trade has led to the opening up of various agencies and regulatory bodies that regulate fair trading practices across the world. The FLO or Fairtrade Labelling Organisation is an organization that formally sets standards on products and countries that have signed the fair trade deal have to adhere to those standards. These standards are set not just for the production purposes but also extend to packaging, importing etc.

Fairtrade Labelling Organisation is not the only fair trade regulatory body today. There are many others that were set up since the 1990s. The first initiative, though, was taken in the form of labelling products so that customers buying the products could be sure of the fact that the actual producers at the end of the supply chain were benefited through this purchase. This happened way back in 1988 and ushered in the opportunity of fair trade to join the mainstream trade practices and not be restricted to selling fair trade products through the ATOs or alternative trade organizations and Worldshops. The labelling services so started proliferated with time and quite a few organizations opened under the ambit of fair trade labelling practices.

The labelling services of FLO organizations have helped these traders gain impartial certifications about their products and the best part is that these certifications are done in compliance with ISO standards. The ambit of these labelling services has also increased over time. Now various other products have been included and the labelling is done on a wider scale. Since these labels are in compliance with ISO standards, developed nations can no longer object to the imports of these items. The purview of labelling also extends to various steps of the process – right from production to packaging to importing from foreign nations.

The certification given by FLO is a boon to every stakeholder in the entire supply chain. It guarantees that the actual producer gets remunerative price or fair prices for the produce. The certificate also ensures that the production of these goods does not involve child labour and the labourers do get safe working conditions, have the opportunity to unionise, get facilities of social development and the entire process is done in such a manner that it does not affect the environment or in fact even in a model that supports sustainable development. Also, this certification system envisages continual relationships among buyers and sellers and promotes various services like refinancing of crops to the producers of these goods and lastly ensures transparency in the entire supply chain. The terms and conditions laid down by the Charter of United Nations are also complied with.

The FLO was succeeded by the WFTO or World Fair Trade Organisation which was launched in the year 2004 in order to promote sellers of handicraft products mostly without the help of World shops. This attempt at gaining markets for these products has been done in a way that this particular form of labelling guarantees that the products sold under this labelling adheres to the standards laid down by the WFTO. Products with WFTO labelling ensure that the standards were adhered to while producing, packaging or exporting the products. The major criteria on which these standards are based include safe and proper working conditions, no child labour, standards of minimum wages being given to workers and environmental hazards are avoided. Generally called the FTO Mark, this certification promotes all Fair Trade Organisations before consumers, buyers and business partners, public bodies as well as donors to the cause.

Thus the evolution of Fair Trade has been from a form of protest against imperialism and foreign dominion to a platform that envisages standardized products at a global level. Nowadays its ambit is not restricted to just selling the products via World shops but labelling the products in such a way that it can be sold across the world. The labelling services have also done a great favour to the producers in the developing countries. Apart from ensuring that the actual producers get a fair price for the produces, these also ensure that the consumers in the developed countries can buy these relying on the certifications which stand for the implementation and execution of certain processes that have been adhered to while manufacturing and transporting the product to the consumers.