The true meaning and significance of a word can often be obsurced by difficult and challenge terminology. In our new weekly feature, 'De-jargoning', we explore popular buzzwords and expressions related to the world of fashion in order to find out more about them. This week, we are looking at the phrase 'fair trade'.
The phrase "fair trade" originated in the 18th century, where it was used to mean legally imported goods. In the 19th century, fair trade was used in reference to the freedom of trade between all nations without tariff restrictions. It was only in the late 20th century where it came to describe the "movement to promote equity in the financial and power relations between producers and consumers".
Generally speaking, fair trade is a relatively simple concept; it's about advocating better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By demanding companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), fair trade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. Fair trade, therefore, enables producers to improve their position and have more control over their lives.
The Fairtrade Foundation
The Fairtrade Foundation is a charity based in the United Kingdom that works to empower disadvantaged producers in developing countries by tackling injustice in trade. Founded in 1992, the Foundation works with businesses, civil society organisations and individuals to improve the position of producer organisations and to help them achieve sustainable improvements for their members and their communities.