JR Thorp of BUSTLE breaks down what’s behind all those food labels. Fair Trade Certified is of particular interest to me. I knew generally what it meant, but didn’t realize it covered some very specific and legal things.
Everything with the Fairtrade Certified label you recognize has gone through them — and the standards are high. The basic principle is that workers and producers of Fairtrade goods aren’t exploited or underpaid — Fairtrade says it’s all about “promoting fairer trading conditions for disadvantaged producers” — but it’s hardly a cakewalk to get yourself certified.For your product to qualify as Fairtrade, it needs to meet Fairtrade International’s standards, which are pretty vigorous: they cover workers’ rights, collective bargaining, high working conditions, fair contracts, and payment that covers producers’ costs and gives them certainty. Specific products, like tea, coffee, honey, cocoa, and nuts, need to follow their own strict industry standards depending on the region. That label’s pretty hard-won.