Fairtrade in a time of COVID-19
Posted by Fair Trade 115 Comments
May the 9th of 2020 is The World Fair Trade Day. We should celebrate it and share more info about Fairtrde more than ever now! Why?
We already wrote about fashion industry and it's lowest paid workers - garment makers losing their jobs in current situation of COVID-19 and left without any help, financial support, anything.
The situation looks totally different in companies that are based on fair trade. What gives Fairtrade certificate that we see on the product we choose? No matter if that is coffee, tea, chocolate, a pair of shoes or a T-shirt. Here is an example of how our conscious choices influence reality.
In response to the pandemic of COVID-19 Fairtrade International decided to make Fairtrade Standards more flexible. Thanks to those changes Fairtrade producers gain additional support to take care of their workers health and secure their living conditions.
New guidelines of Fairtrade Standards interpretation enable producer's organizations taking quick actions to improve safety and secure living conditions of workers in pandemic reality.
New guidelines include everyone - from small farmers cooperatives to big plantations hiring workers. The most important change is the one about Fairtrade Premium distribution. Fairtrade Premium is a bonus money paid apart from the previously fixed price for the product. It's used to execute democratically chosen, developmental projects like an access to fresh water, education, health care and many more. In 2018 total worth of Fairtrade Premium was about 177 million EUR.
According to new guidelines producer's organizations can distribute Fairtrade Premium faster and in more flexible ways so they can maximize the efforts of limiting the virus spread. Organizations are going to buy masks and other protective equipment and give them to workers and farmers, they are also improving hygiene conditions in the workplace.
There is no doubt that plantations workers are now in the toughest situation. They lost their possibility to work according to plantations closing. In this cases all the Fairtrade Premium may be distributed to the workers in cash. It could be 20% and in special cases 50% so far. This change applies till September the 30th of 2020 for now.
New guidelines include also support in distributing food and fulfilling basic living needs for the workers. Those changes are especially important for 145 thousands of tea and flower plantations who gained over 10 million EUR of Fairtrade Premium in 2018.
So please don't forget that our ethical choices make a better world!