Our Commitment to Fair Trade
We believe in direct relationships with growers, whether they are in our own backyard, or Latin America. We believe in paying a fair wage, and supporting small-scale growers in developing countries. We are a licensee and a Most Valuable Player of Fairtrade Canada.
Fair Trade is an easy extension of the Discovery Organics buying philosophy; we believe in supporting small scale farmers, endeavoring to help them build a market for their crops, and make enough money to cover the cost of production plus a fair profit on the crops we buy. Those are the same goals we have had since the first day we opened our doors.
We have seen firsthand, through numerous visits to farms in South America and Mexico, the transformative nature of Fair Trade. Some of our long-term Fair Trade relationships include APROMALPI, BOS and PRAGOR. To learn more about these cooperatives check out our Field Reports and our Grower Profiles!
We are constantly working to increase the selection and availability of Fair Trade produce in Western Canada so that consumers have an ethical choice. By working with growers in the southern hemisphere, we can compliment the local season for many products that we cannot grow locally all year-round.
Our Fair Trade product availability varies throughout the year according to the growing seasons of our suppliers.
All of the following products are certified Organic and Fair Trade:
- Avocados – PRAGOR (Mexico)
- Bananas – BOS (Peru), Coliman (Mexico), ASOGUABO (Ecuador)
- Cucumbers – Grupo Alta/Divine Flavor and Heaven’s Best and Rico Farm (Mexico)
- Grapefruits – PRAGOR – Las Palomas (Mexico)
- Grapes – Grupo Alta/Divine Flavor and Heaven’s Best (Mexico)
- Ginger – La Grama (Peru)
- Key limes – PRAGOR – Las Palomas (Mexico)
- Mangos – APROMALPI (Peru)
- Melons – Grupo Alta/Divine Flavor and Rico Farm (Mexico)
- Squash – Rico Farm (Mexico)
- Tomatoes – Grupo Alta/Divine Flavor (Mexico)
- Turmeric – La Grama (Peru)
- Watermelons – Grupo Alta/Divine Flavor and Heaven’s Best and Rico Farm (Mexico)
- Zucchinis – Rico Farm (Mexico)
WHAT IS FAIR TRADE?
Fair Trade can mean a variety of things to different people – a social justice movement, an alternative business model, a system for ethical trade, a vehicle for poverty alleviation, a model for economic development in developing countries, or just simply, fair international trade.
At a basic level, Fair Trade is a global trading model that certifies a wide range of products to guarantee ethical sourcing based on a number of criteria. Fair Trade certification guarantees that producers are paid a fair price, and that there are no human right’s violations including child labour. With the great amount of uncertainties in the supply chain of global commodities, this transparent, verifiable, and accountable process allows consumers to buy products with confidence.
There are elements that we don’t talk about enough – Fair Trade producers also gain access to pre-harvest credit (A.k.a. pre financing), long term contracts, and social premiums, which is an additional payment of 5-20% over the cost of the fruits or vegetables, used solely for community development; creating better schools, safer infrastructures, medical clinics, composting facilities.
Fair Trade is a transparent and accountable system. Not only do producers have to be certified to call their products Fair Trade, but importers also have to undergo a certification process, which includes meeting standards to prove that we are “fair” in all aspects of our business. This includes yearly audits that ensure that we have contracts with producers, that we pay producers on time, and that we pay a fair price.
source: Fairtrade Foundation
More about how Fairtrade International monitors and measures impact
The Basic Principles of Fair Trade*
Fair prices: Farmers, hired workers, artisans and other producers re-ceive a fair price or wage for their time and materials. Producer organizations often receive pre-harvest or pre-production credit on favorable terms.
Fair & safe labor conditions: Workers on farms, in factories and on plantations enjoy freedom of association, safe working conditions, and humane treatment. Forced child labor is strictly prohibited.
Direct trade: Importers purchase from Fair Trade producer groups as directly as possible, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and empow-ering producers to develop the business capacity necessary to com-pete in the global marketplace.
Democratic and transparent organizations: Producers decide democ-ratically how to invest Fair Trade premiums for community develop-ment and capacity building of producer organizations.
Community development: Producers invest premiums in social and business development projects like youth scholarship programs, health care, clean water access, quality improvement trainings, and organic certification.
Environmental sustainability: Harmful agrochemicals and Genetically Modified Organisms are strictly prohibited in favor of environmentally sustainable methods that protect producers’ health and preserve eco-systems.
Source: The Fair Trade Resource Network
Our Fair Trade Objectives
Our Fair Trade objectives are to increase profits for growers, and create financing for social programs. We work tirelessly to bring new growers and traders into the Fair Trade system and advocate the positive impact of purchasing in this manner. We review our performance by seeing higher and higher values of social premium payments to growers, through our increasing volumes, as well as offering growers the highest possible price.
Our Fair Trade relationships are planned to be maintained in perpetuity.
We also visit all of the cooperatives that we work with directly to assess the outcomes of the social impact of Fair Trade purchases, including working conditions, living conditions and social programs such as access to microfinance, technical improvements that improve their working conditions and safety, equality for women, child labour policy, health care, education, etc.
This policy was developed to enable us to not only understand the direct impact of Fair Trade, but through frequent visits to many growers, to assess the year-over-year changes that have been accomplished.
Fair Trade Social Premiums
On top of ensuring a stable minimum price covering producers’ costs, Fair Trade also generates funds for social projects and community development through Fair Trade Social premiums. For every case of bananas that we buy, we pay an additional amount to the producers, which are used exclusively for development projects, decided upon democratically. All growers and workers are involved in this process to collectively address the most critical needs in the area.
The use of Fair Trade Social Premiums varies greatly depending on the specific needs of the community, but generally they focus on:
Education: School infrastructure, school supplies, scholarships and bursaries, payment of school fees, teacher training, and adult education
Health: Clinics, health insurance, medical supplies, health training, sanitation, Dental and eye surgery clinics
Environment: Organic certification, environmental and waste management, environmental development projects
Gender Equity: Programs and projects focusing on women’s needs, including income generation projects, training and development, and health.
Business Development: Management training, technical training, safety improvements, and proper Food Safe packing facilities.