Fair Trade products are part of a program started by people who wanted to use their purchasing power to ensure that small farmers, crafters and artisans had the chance to compete with bigger corporations and make a fair wage doing it. Any small company that wants to operate under the Fairtrade umbrella needs to follow certain rules and regulations and get certified. The certification needs to be renewed every couple of years.
That oversight makes sure that companies don’t just follow the rules in order to get certified and then change their business practices. The program is largely viewed as being good for consumers and good for small businesses. But, some people say that the disadvantages of Fair Trade outweigh the advantages. Take a look at some of the disadvantages and decide for yourself if purchasing these products is something that is right for you.
Buying Fair Trade Products Cost More
It is true that consumers usually pay a little more for products that have Fair Trade Certification. Any products that are ethically produced from produce to shoes are going to cost more than similar products that are sold at big stores. But, price is not the bottom line for socially conscious consumers. Typically Fairtrade items are no more than a few dollars more expensive than the alternatives. Those few dollars might equal skipping a cup of coffee-shop coffee or waiting an extra week to buy a new sweater that you want. But to the artists, crafters, farmers and small business owners whose products you are buying those few dollars have a huge impact. Those extra dollars mean that a child can go to school, or a woman who is trapped in an unsafe situation can finally file for divorce and support herself. Those dollars eliminate food insecurity for families and provide clean water for communities.
Fair Trade Certification is Expensive
Another disadvantage that is often mentioned is that getting Fair Trade certification is expensive for the individuals and small businesses that the program wants to help. The initial process of getting certified can be expensive. But the benefit to the business is enormous. Being a certified business can increase sales by 15% or more for most businesses. There are expenses to running any business and paying for the certification necessary to be part of the program is a business expense that provides a great re