More than two billion people who live in poverty currently rely on small-scale agriculture for their food and wages. World trade has the potential to greatly reduce poverty, encourage economic growth and provide these people with a sustainable livelihood. But the regulations that currently govern international trade are stacked in favour of wealthy countries and organisations. As a consequence workers at the beginning of the supply chain don't always get a fair share of the benefits of trade.
The term 'Fairtrade' (one word) is used to certify goods that meet an internationally agreed standard, and buying products that carry the Fairtrade mark is your independent guarantee that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal. It means you can be confident that a fair price has been paid for your product and that producers have enough money to reinvest back into their communities.
Oxfam has been involved with Fair Trade for over 40 years, and in 1991, we co-founded Cafedirect, now the UK's sixth largest coffee brand. weIn 1992, Sales of Fairtrade-marked products in the UK exceeded £800 million in 2009. The Fairtrade mark is now recognised by around 70% of the British public.
To find out more, visit the Fairtrade Foundation website.
While the Fairtrade mark tells you that a product has met a specific international standard, 'Fair Trade' (two words) is used to refer to the Fair Trade movement as a whole and can describe both labelled and unlabelled goods. Fair Trade producers belong to the World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) and Oxfam can confidently enter into trading partnerships with them knowing they have applied the WFTO's 10 Principles of Fair Trade.
Fairtrade and the Fair Trade movement embody a vision of a world in which justice and sustainable development are at the heart of trade structures and practices so that everyone, through their work, can maintain a decent and dignified livelihood and develop their full human potential. Both are a response to the failure of conventional trade to deliver sustainable livelihoods and development opportunities to people in the poorest countries of the world.
To find out more, visit the World Fair Trade Organization website.
When you buy Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) products, you can be sure they are coming from well-managed forest sources, and that you are contributing to the protection of this precious natural resource.
The FSC is an international, non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world's forests and their global certification scheme allows you to identify FSC products.
Many forestry practices are either illegal or unsustainable, yet the resulting timber is used in the manufacture of hundreds of consumer products. Forests support up to 1.6 billion of the world's poorest people and countless species of plants and animals, and the loss of woodland - on every continent - has profound environmental, social and economic consequences.
By purchasing only FSC certified products, it is possible to sustain the woodland on which humans, animals and plant species rely. A reduced demand for forest products from poorly managed sources will produce a market that naturally encourages responsible practices and management of the world's woodlands.
To find out more, visit the FSC website.
Organic farming minimises the environmental impact and effects of mainstream industrial farming by restricting the use of pesticides, chemical fertilisers and other unnatural methods. Good for the planet, good for you!
Organic certification bodies: DEFRA
Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G)
Scottish Organic Producers' Association (SOPA)
Organic Food Federation (OFF)
Soil Association Certification Ltd (SA Cert)
Demeter/Bio-Dynamic Agriculture Association (BDAA)
Irish Organic Farmers & Growers' Association (IOFGA)
More about recycling
Purchasing recycled products from Oxfam helps limit the volume of waste being sent to landfill and protect the environment. Demand for the world's natural resources is greater now than ever before. We are encouraged to replace our possessions regularly and waste items that have a lot more life in them. These factors promote resource misuse and fuel exploitation of the world's reserves in order to satisfy demand.
By reducing what we consume, reusing where we can and recycling when we no longer have a use for a product, it is possible to generate far greater value from the resources we extract.
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