Fair trade is an economic and social movement that aims to provide a more equitable form of global trade especially to producers in developing countries while promoting sustainability. One of the main goals of fair trade is to balance the payment scale in the supply chain. This usually means higher payment is given to the producer while promoting good social and environmental standards in their workplace and communities. Although many view fair trade as a form of charity, it is rather a way to empower low income communities with a sustainable form of income instead of feeding a cycle of poverty by not paying them enough and promoting poor working and living conditions. The Fair Trade Federation states that fair trade is "a holistic approach to trade and development that aims to alter the ways in which commerce is conducted, so that trade can empower the poorest of the poor. Fair Trade Organizations seek to create sustainable and positive change in developing and developed countries."
1) Low wages and poor conditions are a reality for many people working in factories in the developing world. According to Made By.com, in 1980 over 30% of textiles were produced in developing countries. Today this number is 70%. Although this is one way for these countries to enter the global market, many of its citizens only become trapped in a cycle of exploitation.
2) Fair trade is a way to empower those who may become trapped in this cycle to earn a living wage.
3) Those using the fair trade model pursue producers in developing countries and low income areas to assist these communities with skills training and business opportunities to encourage their economic growth.
Liz Alig seeks to fulfill this mission by partnering with like minded organizations who pay fair wages and give back to their communities and employees. One of our main partners in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Mi Esperanza, provides skills training to low income women. This empowers these women, who would normally have difficulty finding employment, to have the skills to find a more sustainable job for themselves and their families.
Another big part of Fair Trade is that profits from the clothing go back to the communities where production takes place. At Liz Alig, we donate a portion of our sales directly back to the communities where our partnering organizations are located to promote skills training of women.