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Home > Customer Service > Certifications and Guides > Fair Trade, Fair Labor - Why Different Designations? And Our Policy

Fair Trade, Fair Labor - Why Different Designations? And Our Policy

Yes It’s Organic makes it easy for you to understand the labels in our store. We use the terms “Fair Labor ” and “Fair Trade.”

Fair Labor is a term used to indicate that the conditions and wages of the workers making the products are safe, sweatshop free, humane, environmentally friendly, create gender equality, protect children, and provide a fair wage and worker voice in decision making.

There are several organizations that provide fair labor guidelines and certifications such as Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), Fair Wear Foundation (FWF), the Fair Labor Association (FLA), and the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI).

Fair Trade has additional distinguishing characteristics: a focus on creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers; democratic, transparent worker-owned cooperatives; payment of a social premium that is invested in community development projects democratically chosen by the cooperative; and purchase from producer groups as directly as possible with the elimination of unnecessary middlemen.

Certified Fair Trade: There are a few organizations and member associations by which they certify products as being “Fair Trade” according to principles stated above. These organizations are independent of any companies involved in any part of the processes for growing crops or manufacturing products.

Fair Labor is a term used to indicate that the conditions and wages of the workers making the products are safe, sweatshop free, humane, environmentally friendly, create gender equality, protect children, and provide a fair wage and worker voice in decision making.

Fair Trade has additional distinguishing characteristics: a focus on creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers; democratic, transparent worker-owned cooperatives; payment of a social premium that is invested in community development projects democratically chosen by the cooperative; and purchase from producer groups as directly as possible with the elimination of unnecessary middlemen.

FLO (Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International) is the global umbrella organization of product certifiers. In 1999, FLO affiliates TransFair USA and TransFair Canada opened in North America. Each of these groups decides which products will wear their label in their respective countries.

In 1989, the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT) was founded as a global network of fully committed fair trade organizations, aiming to improve the livelihoods of disadvantaged people through trade and to provide a forum for the exchange of information and ideas.

In the late 1970s, fair trade entrepreneurs in North America began to meet regularly to exchange ideas and network. This informal group evolved into the Fair Trade Federation (FTF) and formally incorporated in 1994. FTF is a partner within the IFAT context and evaluates North American-based businesses operating in a variety of industries for their commitment to fair trade.

One distinction should be understood between product certification and company evaluations. Certain products can be certified Fair Trade in the US through Transfair USA and internationally through FLO. However, organizations like IFAT and the Fair Trade Federation do not "certify" companies, but "evaluate" them, for Fair Trade practices. So products are certified while organizations are evaluated. Fair Trade Certified™ is a trademark of TransFair and, therefore, a product certification.

At Yes It’s Organic, in order to reduce the complexity of different terminology but maintain our high standards of disclosures and certifications, we use the single term “Fair Trade” to represent Fair Trade that is Certified by either 1) any of the certifying organizations for Fair Trade or 2) the Fair Trade Certified™ designation.

Yes It's Organic manufacturers either own their manufacturing facilities or use contract manufacturing companies to conduct the actual manufacturing processes. In either situation, they may use independent fair labor certifying organizations or use their own fair labor guidelines and inspections that are similar to those used by the independent certifying organizations.

One reason a manufacturer may show "Fair Labor" instead of “Certified Fair Trade” on their products is that the Fair Trade certifying organizations may not certify in all countries and for all products. Also, in addition to such practices as fair wages, gender equity, worker voice, and healthy working conditions, Fair Trade emphasizes direct, long-term relationships with disadvantaged producers organized in democratic, worker-owned cooperatives in which members decide together how to use additional funds for community development. These important characteristics are not part of fair labor contracts with manufacturing facilities. Therefore, another designation is necessary for Fair Labor processes.




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    Fair Trade, Fair Labor - Why Different Designations? And Our Policy