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**Download Green America's Fair Trade and the Environment Flyer, produced in honor of World Fair Trade Day: For the People, For the Planet**
Standards for Crafts
Non-food commodities, like textiles, ceramics, and other crafts, can bear the Fair Trade name. Find where to buy Fair Trade crafts in the U.S. The following guidelines are set by International Fair Trade Association as environmental standards for Fair Trade artisans:
Craft Cooperative Profile - Environmental Standards
Mapepa, Hand Made Papers of Africa - Zimbabwe
Hand Made Papers of Africa, or Mapepa in the native language, was started in 1991 to support community development and environmental awareness through small-scale paper production in Zimbabwe. Villagers in communities throughout the country are trained in the ancient art of papermaking and use simple tools for their craft.
The paper is made from indigenous plant fibers that grow wild in the area. Mapepa teaches the workers to collect plant residues that are local, renewable, and plentiful. Minimizing the effect on the natural habitat is a main principle of production.
In addition, each sheet is made from 100% cellulosic plant fiber, which is lignin and acid-free. No chemicals or other inputs such as glues and colorings are necessary in the production. This not only protects the environment from harmful chemicals but also the individual workers and communities as a whole.
The resulting paper is suitable for writing and printing and is of archival quality. In addition to standard paper, Mapepa also produces wallpaper, lamp shades, picture frames, candles, place mats, and herbal and botanical soaps.
Food Commodity Standards
The Fair Trade Certified™ label requires use of practices that promote soil conservation, water conservation, reforestation, species diversity, and environmental education. The standards also promote organic practices by prohibiting genetically modified organisms and certain agrochemicals. The following guidelines have been established by the Fair Trade Labeling Organization (FLO) and its domestic body, Transfair USA, for use by producers. All farmer cooperatives that produce Fair Trade Certified™ products have designed and implemented an internal cooperative plan for monitoring of these standards. Find where to buy Fair Trade Commodities in the U.S.
Fair Trade Certified™ environmental standards include:
Land and Soil
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
Rice Cooperative Profile - Environmental Standards
Rice Fund, a Fair Trade project in Surin, Thailand
This 45-member rice cooperative is located in the north eastern part of Thailand. Fair Trade has not only benefited the co-op members but also the surrounding environment.
Extra income provided by the Fair Trade certification is used to support educational, cultural and environmental projects in the area, such as planting trees in the community forest. During weekends, children plant trees and learn how to care for their environment. The forest in turn benefits the community by providing wood, fruit, and other crops.
Kanya Osori describes the impact that diversification of crops has had on farmers' lives. As a result of environmental education through Fair Trade, Kanya is now not only growing rice, but also organic peanuts and various fruit and vegetables which she sells on the local market. The extra earnings have drastically benefited Kanya's financial situation. "With this extra money I am able to send my two daughters to high school and plan for unforeseen circumstances, something impossible before" says Kanya.
Diversification does not only have a financial impact on the lives of members' families, it also allows them to stay together in the village. In the past, since the rice farmers depended on only one crop a year, most of the families had to go to the city during the dry season to earn extra money. This meant that entire families would be separated for half of the year. "Crop diversification and organic farming now allow us to work in our villages the whole year round, and give us the chance to feed ourselves and keep our families together" adds Kanya. Through Fair Trade, the Rice Fund Surin members are not dependent on fluctuating rice prices any longer; they are now exporting directly and have a certain degree of stability and independence. Being in charge of their own lives and destiny they are not obliged to live for the moment any longer, but can consciously plan for their own and the following generations' future.