FAIR TRADE ATTRIBUTES
Producers must be paid a living wage for their products. Because of low prices, many producers are not able to meet their basic needs, such as food, health care, shelter, and education. Paying producers a fair wage allows them to meet these basic needs, which is critical for alleviating poverty and improving their quality of life.
SAFE & HEALTHY
Buyers must verify that their labor and contractual arrangements are not exploitive: that producers work in safe and healthy conditions; that producers are not exposed to hazardous, degrading, and discriminatory working conditions, that they exceed minimum legal conditions (i.e., producer's wages, salaries and benefits are equal to or higher than the industry's minimums for the respective region and country, according to the employees' tasks, experience and level of responsibility); and that they do not permit employment or contract of the services of minors under the age of 14.
Many cooperatives and artisan groups reinvest a portion of their revenue into their businesses and community-based social projects. Working with these groups helps to build businesses and strengthen communities.
Buyers and producers must engage in long-term direct trading relationships, giving producers security and allowing them to plan for the future. Additionally, this relationship helps producers to continue to meet the needs of the marketplace, thereby ensuring the sustainability of their own businesses.
It is essential that consumers understand where their money goes - that fairly traded products serve to build economically and environmentally healthy communities, and that social injustice may lurk behind low prices.
By educating consumers about the origins of their products - the producers, their families, living conditions, etc. - fair trade organizations and buyers alike can cultivate cross-cultural understanding and give meaning to how the choice of one product over another can have positive impacts.