Where Does the Fair Trade Logo Come From?
You hear about the Fair Trade distinction more and more every day. If you drink coffee out in public, then you’ve probably noticed people talking about coffee beans that are Fairtrade certified, or you’ve noticed it on the packaging or marketing materials. So what is Fairtrade certification all about anyway?
Another of the many now common green symbols, Fairtrade is actually more than just a logo — behind the now common and colorful Fairtrade symbol is a strategy, and one that the organization says is all about “poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Its purpose is to create opportunities for producers and workers who have been economically disadvantaged or marginalized by the conventional trading system. If fair access to markets under better trade conditions would help them to overcome barriers to development, they can join Fairtrade.” So there we have it.
More Information on Fairtrade Certification
When items have been Fairtrade certified and contain the proper lable denoting this distinction, then what has been called a “tool for development” has been put into play. When you see the Fairtrade symbol on a product, then you can bet that formerly or potentially disadvantaged farmers and workers are getting a better deal than they otherwise would have without the Fairtrade system in place. And the mark of Fairtrade certification is international.
History of the Fairtrade Label
Created first in the Netherlands in the late 1980s, it was the Max Havelaar Foundation that brought out the very first Fairtrade “consumer guarantee label,” which was at the time placed on coffee whose origins were to be found in Mexico (this was in 1988). Other nations around the world soon adopted use of the Fairtrade symbol, as well. For instance, the UK established the Fairtrade Foundation in 1992 and then put the mark in 1994.
Fairtrade Labelling was created in the Netherlands in the late 1980s. The Max Havelaar Foundation launched the first Fairtrade consumer guarantee label in 1988 on coffee sourced from Mexico. Here in the UK, the Fairtrade Foundation was established in 1992, with the first products to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark launched in 1994. To learn more about the complete history of the Fairtrade symbol, click here.
Standards To Be Met for Fairtrade Registered Certification on Products
The presence of the Fairtrade mark certifies that the product has been sourced from producers (farmers and workers) in developing nations according to the guidelines laid out by the organization. The standards are international in nature, and there is a presiding certification body that exists at the international level (Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International(FLO)).
In order to derive this list of standards, several key players are involved. Research is conducted by the governing body, and several groups are consulted throughout the process. Producers and workers, farmers, Non Governmental Organizations in various countries, traders, academic institution representatives as well as the Fairtrade Foundation, among others, are all involved in the process of determining Fairtrade standards for certification.
It is vital to the integrity of the Fairtrade symbol that it only be used on products that have actually been properly certified. Any misuse should be reported, along with supporting evidence, to the following address:
Attn: FAIRTRADE Mark Misuse Officer
The Fairtrade Logo: Old Versus New
Many of us are more familiar with the older Fairtrade symbol, which was black and white, split in half with a tilted globe on its axis in the background. The newer version was updated in 2002, and features green and blue against a black and white ground.
There is no direct interpretation available, in terms of how best to understand what the colors actually mean. According to the Fairtrade site, “some see a parrot, others a green leaf, some see the black swirl at the center as a road leading to a brighter future. The most popular interpretation is to imagine the blue as sky, the green as grass, and the black dot and swirl at the center as a person holding one arm aloft. That figure represents the people at the heart of the Fairtrade system – it could be a farmer holding up their product, a shopper reaching to purchase, or a campaigner fighting for greater justice in international trade.”
At present, the symbol or mark of Fairtrade is used in over 50 countries around the planet.
From organic and fair plus, a list of Fairtrade FAQs, where you will be able to find out the range of current Fairtrade certified foods and drinks currently available on the market, the guidelines for Fairtrade products, and the cross-over between Fairtrade and organic certification.
Wikipedia entry on The Fairtrade Foundation.[Photo Via: Guide to Green Symbols]