Still, but what is this Fair Trade? For me and for Green Springs, we have developed a pretty good radar and a good sense of companies' agendas. We've been in this game for awhile and have developed a network we trust to uphold the tenants of Fair Trade, which means the worker is paid a fair wage in fair working conditions and those employed are often women, teenagers and the disabled who otherwise would be destitute. Value is placed on native crafts and sustainability. It's not my goal to displace native craft for the sake of Fair Trade sneaker factories.
So, at the end of the day, for Green Springs, we call items Fair Trade if the crafter is paid a fair wage in fair conditions and emphasis is placed on native crafts with sustainability and no barriers are placed for hiring women, the handicapped or the destitute. For me, it puts a form of labor regulations in areas lacking.
The next questions are usually "what is a fair wage?" and "are child labor law in place?". That's tricky and sometimes more difficult for us to understand. The fair wage in within the context of the region. Is it American minimum wage? No. Its almost always much less--its reflective of the cost of living of the area. Now....child labor. Yes and no. Its difficult to imagine, but in some areas of the world, children are bought and sold. I have met some of these children. Sold. The ones I have met were sold and later saved. Not all are so fortunate as to be saved. Teenagers are kicked out of the home with no education, no funds and very limited choices. Many of the organizations who I deal with will employ those teenagers to save them from making choices that we cannot fathom.