Buying fair trade products made by disadvantaged groups

Buying fair trade products helps close the gap between rich and manufacturing poor countries. With Christmas just around the corner, open the usual questions about the gifts we make to friends and family. One possibility, not always known, is to give fair trade products, ie products made by disadvantaged groups in developing countries and to reach stores in Europe and America without intermediaries and ensuring a fair price for producers enabling them to live in dignity.

These products cover different sectors. From food (coffee, tea, sugar, chocolate, jams, nuts, etc..) To a wide range of gifts, made in a craft (jewelry, clothing accessories, stationery, toys, home decor …) . Thus, consumers can purchase products and useful items with guaranteed quality, and time to help eliminate the differences between countries north and south.

bolsos viaje regaloThe first Fair Trade shop opened in 1969 in Holland and from there spread to the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Sweden, Britain and Belgium. In 1990, after 10 years of informal cooperation, was born the European Fair Trade Association (EFTA or European Fair Trade Association). In Spain, this phenomenon is new and only after 1998 we can say that there are establishments where you can buy these products even though the trend has been positive. The latest data available are from 2002 and show a turnover of 5,911,000 euros. Spain now ranks eighth in import figures for fair trade products. Ahead of our country are France, Ireland and Sweden, among others.

The products in greatest demand are those of food, which account for 56% of sales, with coffee the star product. In countries like Belgium, 30% of all coffee consumed is imported by institutions dedicated to fair trade. Returning to our country, craft items account for 40% of sales, while books and other products occupy a marginal 4%. Buy Fair Trade products means to help workers in poor countries and their sustainable development.

When we talk about fair trade food, the star product is coffee, followed by cocoa. Both products are in many countries the only source of income for their citizens and the exploitation of the territories involved even desertification and forest destruction. With fair trade actions that consumers get the Northern countries help the progress of developing countries, but following a series of conditions that ensure that resources reach those who really need it without over-exploitation of farmland.

In the case of handicrafts and textiles, which are the second level in demand from consumers in the north, make sure that, first, follow the trends of consumers, thanks to the interrelationship between producers and power marketing (NGOs and fair trade organizations). The sales took place through nearly 80 stores spread throughout Spain, with a total area of 1,645 square meters that are served by 382 volunteers and 38 staff employed.

Moreover, these products are available through different websites and importers, even in traditional establishments to enable a part of your space for these products. Some large retail chains have also been recently implicated in the trade and offer these products on their shelves.

The usual consumer profile of Fairtrade products is a woman between 28 and 60 years of age, average economic level and with some sensitivity to social issues. With this profile, the right products always have their equivalent in trade «normal», however prefer to choose fair trade products precisely because of its social involvement.

In order to expand their market and attract more customers from the various NGOs involved in fair trade is considering the location of the stores as a way to make it easier to access these products. Responsible for Fair Trade Shop Oxfam’s goal is to locate stores and outlets around the nerve centers of trade in the cities for the purchase action is simple and does not constitute an over-exertion.