Fast Forward: Take CSR Beyond Sustainability With Fair Trade
Study after study shows that consumers, especially younger ones, want to buy from companies that demonstrate corporate social responsibility. Sustainability tops the list of priorities, but it’s only one piece of the CSR puzzle. Fair trade, which includes fair wages for workers as well as eco-friendly practices, also plays an important role in demonstrating your company’s commitment to ethical operations.
Products bearing a certified fair-trade logo provide a shorthand that tells customers those items have been verified by a trusted third party. When it comes to promo, this helps your company and your customers quickly signify to end users that these issues matter and that you are taking real steps to address them. Several organizations offer certification, including Fair Trade USA and Fairtrade International.
Founded in 1998, the nonprofit Fair Trade USA originally focused on coffee, chocolate and other cash crops. The organization has expanded to certify more than 30 product categories from food to apparel and home goods and now works with more than 1,500 companies that source from over 800 fair trade producers in more than 50 countries.
The Fair Trade Certified label indicates that a product meets rigorous standards for safe working conditions, environmental protection, sustainable livelihoods and participation in local community development funds. Certification is done on the product level, not the whole company, and each product must pass a yearly audit to ensure ongoing compliance.
Similarly, Fairtrade International, with branches all over the world, works with local farmers and manufacturers to promote ethical labor practices and environmental stewardship. Guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015, the organization provides resources to address climate change, supply chain transparency and more. More than 37,000 products from over 100 countries carry the Fairtrade Mark, from food to clothing and jewelry.
Both organizations work with FLOCERT, a global fair trade certification authority working to support sustainable businesses and ensure that whole supply chains are built on fair practices.
The Fair Trade Federation doesn’t offer certifications but provides a network of fair trade businesses and resources to support these efforts, including graphics and marketing materials to help explain what fair trade is and how it works.
Here are a couple of brandable products to consider from companies who have earned fair trade certifications:
Available in Tea Tree Peppermint or Vanilla Mandarin, this all-natural, cruelty-free Fair Trade Lip Balm is made with 20% fair trade-certified ingredients, including organic cocoa butter and coconut oil. Other organic ingredients include beeswax, sunflower oil and fragrant essential oils. Made in the USA using 100% renewable energy (wind and solar).
Eco Lips* / PPAI 367669, S1 / www.ecolipspromo.com
The Organic Cotton Dunia Tote Bag is a great everyday carryall made from durable and sustainably grown fair trade organic cotton canvas. The 16x11-inch bag features sturdy handles, an internal divider and a large zippered external pocket. Snap and zippers are lead-free. Available in 10 colors (red shown). Each purchase also supports Feeding America.
Terra Thread** / PPAI 799548, S1 / www.terrathread.com
* Featured on the Fair Trade USA online shop.