Excerpt from a Lutheran World Relief publication: … The United Nation’s Declaration on the Right to Development states that “every person is entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.”
Fair trade enables small farmers and artisans to participate in a more just economic process than the current one that too often is unfair to small producers. By selling through fair trade, farmers and artisans build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.
By supporting fair trade, we make choices in line with our religious beliefs and affirm human dignity by promoting:
- FAIR WAGES: Fair trade guarantees small farmers and artisans prices that exceed their production costs. This increased income, and programs that pay them before they sell their products, allow them to feed their families, stay out of debt and keep their land.
- CHILDREN’S RIGHTS: Many children’s rights are violated in situations of poverty when families are forced to choose between sending a child to sometimes-dangerous work instead of to school. Fair trade increases family income, helping families better afford education and health care for their children.
- WOMEN’S RIGHTS: Most fair trade cooperatives are required to document how many women are members of the cooperative, how many hold leadership roles, and how many own or co-own land. They must also demonstrate that women have equal rights and responsibilities.
- THE RIGHT TO ORGANIZE: Fair trade promotes direct relationships between international buyers and producers. These democratically organized, producer-run cooperatives offer equal employment opportunities for men and women, facilitate access to buyers, provide credit, and offer training and technical assistance to members.
- ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS: Fair trade helps promote organic farming which is better for the environment, encouraging chemical-free farming, composting, crop rotation and other beneficial practices. About 85 percent of Fair Trade Certified TM coffee sold in the U.S. is certified organic.
- INDIGENOUS RIGHTS: Frequently, indigenous peoples face discrimination based on language, culture, religion and their ethnic identity. Fair trade cooperatives can serve as a way to address political, cultural, military and territorial assaults on their way of life.