What Does Fair Trade Really Mean?

What Does Fair Trade Really Mean

You’ve undoubtedly seen the Fair Trade Certified logo on everything from fair trade coffee to our own fair trade cashews. It sounds good, but how much do you really know about Fair Trade? Why do some products claim to be ethically or sustainably sourced but don’t have the Fair Trade certification? It seems like every product in the grocery store now makes a claim about being “green.” We’re proud of our fair trade cashews – not only are they delicious and healthy, but we stand by the fact that our cashews are sourced in the most responsible way possible.

What Makes Something Fair Trade?

Fair Trade Certification represents products that have met the highest, and most rigorous social, economic, and environmental standards. This means that when you purchase a Fair Trade product, you can be guaranteed that this product and its supply chain have been audited to ensure:

  • Safe working conditions for employees and laborers
  • Environmental protection
  • Sustainable livelihoods
  • Community development funds

While the certification can be distilled into a few bullet points, the Fair Trade organization has a long, established history of fighting for climate change, for the elimination of poverty, and for the good of all communities and workers along the supply chain. Fair Trade typically focuses on supply chains in developing countries, where environmental protections and protections for workers are typically less established or non-existent.

While the premise of Fair Trade has existed since the 1940s, Fair Trade in its most recognizable form has existed since 1998. The Fair Trade organization is made up of a diverse group of people that care about putting people and the planet first, while also generating a profit for the communities in which they operate. This movement prides itself on making it easier for consumers to make the good, right choice of buying products from farmers, growers, or makers that are committed to doing business better.

The Importance of Fair Trade in Cashew Production

You’ve probably not thought too much about where your cashews come from. But, cashew production has historically performed poorly when it comes to Fair Trade standards. In many cases, cashew production has involved severe cases of human rights violations. This is why Beyond the Nut is so proud to bear the Fair Trade Certification, and why we’re so proud of the quality and story behind our fair trade cashews.

Most of the world’s cashew production is concentrated in Vietnam, India, and the Ivory Coast. While the conditions of workers in these countries vary, they are usually poor by most standards because most cashew processing is outsourced to consuming countries, leaving very little money flowing into the communities that are growing and harvesting raw cashews.

By participating in the Fair Trade movement, Beyond the Nut is able to partner with farmers, processors, engineers, and community members to build a healthier, actually sustainable supply chain for cashew growers and cashew lovers like you.

Because of the partnership with Fair Trade, and the Fair Trade Certification, Beyond the Nut can proudly say that we do all of the following:

  • Pay fair prices for cashews – The market for cashews might fluctuate and change, but under the Fair Trade partnership, farmers maintain a stable price. Producers are also offered premiums for higher quality cashews, and in some communities, loans and credit are extended to help facilitate community development projects.
  • Respect workers and their communities – In so many countries, supply chains utilize child labor and forced labor in order to keep labor costs minimal. Beyond the Nut supports farmers and organizations that have no tolerance for any kind of abuse, harassment, or forced labor of any kind.
  • Respect the environment- Cashew productions in Benin, where Beyond the Nut operates, producers restrict the most harmful insecticides and pesticides, preserving the health of the product, the land, and the water.

Our fair trade cashews aren’t just a point of pride for us. The farmers, processors, engineers, accountants, and all of the workers whose hands touch these cashews can also take pride in their work, knowing they are paid adequately for their work. Their hard work contributes to delicious fair trade cashews, enjoyed by millions of people all over the world. And you can be proud to buy fair trade cashews knowing that your purchase directly supports the health and livelihood of cashew farmers.