What does “fair” mean in trade and why is it important? Fair trade means that producers and workers are paid so that they can live on the money. Unfortunately, this is not a matter of course:
For example, the low price of cocoa in recent years has meant that farmers have not been able to live on their yields. Children were no longer sent to school because school attendance was too expensive, but had to help on the cocoa plantations.
Fair trade began with agricultural products such as coffee, tea, and bananas with the aim that the farmers in the developing countries, at that time also called the Third World, could live from their work. To this end, trading systems were developed that guaranteed fair prices for the producers of their products, provided that they adhered to certain minimum standards. This includes a controlled quality of the products. To guarantee this, the organization was promoted in cooperatives. Profits are reinvested, e.g. in schools, health centres or in professional training.
In the meantime, fair trade does not only focus on food from developing countries, but there are also fair certified textiles, cosmetics and handicrafts.
Fair trade goods, however, make up only a small fraction of all traded goods. In fact, all world trade should be “fair”, i.e. respect the rights of workers and producers, not harm the environment and be socially acceptable.
This is what the Rhein Waal University of Applied Sciences is committed to as a Fairtrade University. But fair trade also plays a role in research:
Is it even possible to judge whether goods are produced fairly? When is a product “fair” and how is it controlled? Students dealt with this last winter semester.