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What Is Fair Trade?

Fair trade is an ethical, environmentally conscious, sustainable business approach rooted in dialogue, respect, and transparency. It's a set of principles that focuses on opportunities for disadvantaged artisans and farmers living in developing countries. Fair trade isn't charity, but rather a long term system that seeks justice in the international trading system.

This system creates job opportunities that provide lasting, tangible change for those living in poverty and other adverse conditions. Fair trade promotes direct, cooperative, and in-depth relationships between buyers and sellers that improve and empower communities. This approach ensures access to nutrition, shelter, healthcare, and fair wages for those who need it most. By purchasing fair trade products, you're investing in a more equitable trading system and a better world for everyone.

We're committed to following the World Fair Trade Organization's 10 Principles of Fair Trade. As Durham's only independent nonprofit fair trade store, we value the practices and goals outlined in the 10 principles.

Click the principles below to learn more about how our sustainable, ethical gifts create equity in the global economy.

Ten Principles Of Fair Trade

Fair trade practices aim to empower economically and socially underserved artisans and farmers, especially in developing nations. By creating access to the global market, we're able to help break the cycle of poverty.

Fair trade involves relationships that are open, fair, consistent, and respectful. Wages, working conditions, training, and social programs can all be optimized when our producers and their partners are able to communicate with each other honestly.

The long term relationships we build around the world allow artisans and farmers live independently. Through access to financial programs, like microloaning, these talented individuals alleviate poverty within their communities and help those communities grow.

All the artisans we work with are paid in full and in advance for their handicrafts. While other retailers may work on a consignment basis, we take on all the financial risk for the items we sell. Income is also distributed equally, especially between men and women.

Fair trade rejects discrimination based on gender, religion, ethnicity, or sexual preference. We aim to lift up those most vulnerable, especially women. Many of the artisan groups we partner with are women led and/or majority women-run in order to foster independence and empowerment.

Fair trade aims to end exploitive working conditions. Our partners have access to toilets, safety training, clean drinking water, and fire extinguishers. In fact, many choose to work from home in order to balance their family lives. Forced labor isn't tolerated, and neither is discrimination or harassment.

We recognize and adhere to the UN Conventions on the Rights of Children. We believe children have the right to security, education, and play. We oppose child labor and child trafficking.

Our partners create livelihoods that foster a greener future for us all. Fair trade prioritizes eco-friendly practices like reducing, reusing, and reclaiming materials. By respecting the environment, we're able to extend the life of our planet.

Fair trade celebrates the unique cultures that make up our global community. We acknowledge the vast diversity of the human experience and aim to reflect that in our practices. Many of our handicrafts have been made using traditionally and culturally significant methods. Perpetuating these art forms while striving for equitable change is critical.

We hope to teach others about the importance of a more equitable global economy. As consumers, we have the power to advocate for human rights by choosing to purchase fair trade. Shopping fair trade is a way to show that you care about the people who made your goods and to invest in the well-being of others.