Fair trade points sales toward sustainable business

Businesses that choose to promote sustainable practices may enhance their profitability.

When people refer to a sustainable future, they may refer to “People, Planet, Profit.” This comes from a book of the same name written by Peter Fisk. The subheading of the book is “How to embrace sustainability for innovation and business growth.” This triple bottom line approach invokes successful businesses to focus on and positively address social and environmental challenges in creative ways while enhancing profitability. The result is a lasting and more just world.

One piece of the social challenge in people, planet, and profit thinking is ensuring an equitable society. Equity includes health and wellbeing, human rights, ethics and governance, safety and relieving poverty. In such a paradigm, fair trade thrives.

Fair trade is a global economic exchange system that supports people-to-people connections, justice and sustainability. When products carry the Fair Trade Certified label it means that the price covers the cost of production and that the farmers, artisans and workers producing the goods are paid fair prices for their goods. They receive living wages (that cover basic needs) and they work in safe conditions. Many fair trade producer cooperatives and collectives use revenues to build schools, health clinics and otherwise reinvest community development funds to empower and strengthen their communities.

Environmental sustainability is a part of fair trade. Producers are encouraged to engage in sustainable production methods and avoid the use of toxic chemicals for pest management. Organic growing can be another aspect of fair trade; nearly 85 percent of Fair Trade Certified™ coffee is organic.

As the leading third-party certifier of fair trade products in the United States, Fair Trade USA audits and certifies transactions between U.S. companies and their international suppliers. Sustainable and green practices are part of a broader and integrated economic system. Businesses can choose to promote sustainable practices to enhance their profitability. Consumers who purchase fair trade products are contributing to the triple bottom line of businesses that support global sustainability.

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