Fair Trade logoHave you ever wondered “what is Fair Trade”, what does it actually mean for a business to be Fair Trade?

In recent years Fair Trade has been on the increase, but the origins of fair trade date back to as early as the 1950’s when Oxfam started to sell crafts made by Chinese refugees.

In 1989 World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) was set up (formerly the International Federation of Alternative Traders "IFAT") as the first global Fair Trade network. This was set up to highlight the need for change in the rules and practice of conventional trade and shows how a successful business can also put people first.

The 20th anniversary of fair trade labelling is coming up so we thought we’d fill you in about what it really means to be a Fair Trade company.

Paper High are very proud to have been part of the Fair Trade community since 2002, all of our product ranges are sourced from small producers and charities that share the same work ethos as us.  You can find out more about who we work with on our website. We have also been members of BAFTS (British Association of Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers) since 2002.

Fair Trade producersTo make sure that both sides are getting the best deal out of the relationship we visit India and Nepal at least once a year to meet up with our producers and search for new products.

Getting to know our producers and creating a personal relationship with them has allowed us to work closely with them to develop new products and ranges that we are proud to have had an input into.

As a Fair Trade company we strictly follow the ten principles of Fair Trade outlined by the WFTO

Globalization has lead to more communication channels available where you can purchase goods with just a click of the button and which in turn has brought with it a higher demand for consumer goods that would not have been readily available before. It is therefore important that we don’t become completely disconnected from the origins and the people involved in the making of the products we buy.

Paper High Fair Trade producersThere is a story behind each and every product that has been made: be it helping children go to school, putting in sanitation or clean water into local communities or providing funds for NGO’s to help rural villagers to make solar light, the help Fair Trade provides is endless.

Fair trading focuses on building business relationships based on partnership, dialogue, transparency and respect. Building a healthy relationship between producers and consumers in a way that both parties can be content in the knowledge that from beginning to end no one is being disadvantaged at the cost of the other allows relationships between producer and consumer to prosper.

Fair Trade PeopleFair Trade is important because it raises awareness of the problems that small communities face, not just giving people the chance to learn about the issues that are facing them and coming up with positive ways of dealing with them, but also raising awareness on a global scale.

Fair Trade works, it changes people’s lives and we can all help, even in a small way, by buying Fair Trade goods.  You can be confident that your money is being used to help those disadvantaged.

For more information about Fair Trade you can contact us, check out BAFTS or the WFTO.