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How do I know if a product I buy is a fair trade product?

fair trade certifiedRead the label. If it says "Fair Trade Certified," the product has met standards set by Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International. FLO, which was set up in 1997, guarantees that products sold with a Fairtrade label conform to Fairtrade standards and contribute to the development of disadvantaged producers and workers.

In Canada, TransFair independently audits and certifies fair trade goods. But not everything that carries some form of fair trade label has received official certification. In 2006, more than 450 tonnes of coffee sold in Canada with fair trade labels were not officially certified. That has fair trade advocates calling for tougher rules.

Jeff Moore, who founded the country's first fair-trade coffee co-operative, Just Us in Grand Pré, N.S., wants Industry Canada to protect the term. He says that the federal government should regulate certification. Federal regulations would mean that companies wanting to use a fair trade label would be subject to mandatory rules or face fines.

What are the key elements of fair trade?

• The producer is paid a fair price which covers not only the costs of production but enables production which is socially just and environmentally sound.

• Helps develop a producer's ability to remain independent.

• Helps provide a safe and healthy working environment for producers. Children are not to be exploited as cheap labourers.

• Women's work is properly valued and rewarded.

• Encourages better environmental practices and responsible methods of production.



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