what we mean when we say fair trade
A trade in which each participant, i.e. buyer, seller and environment all are benefited. You must be thinking why environment? We would say, of course environment, because anything we do has its impact on environment and eventually on us. No matter what I buy, clothes, electronics, stationery, itinerary, food, anything, it all has pre-production and post usage/discard environmental impact.
Unfortunately this impact is never considered while trading products. Take for example plastic which never biodegrades, even if it photodegrades (in like hundreds of years) it will always remain in the environment as dust. So when we consider the true cost or the fair trade of a plastic water bottle, its not just the cost of raw material, transport, production, labour and storage. Its way beyond that. It leaves a permanent mark on the earth and keeps producing toxics whenever in the environment or is photo degrading.
A true cost of plastic bottle should be thousands time more as environment pays a heavy price and in long run humans too will have to, in terms of hospital bills and degraded health. Due to rapid industrialisation, we have lost focus on why our ancestors stick to a particular material for a particular purpose for so long. Money rather than the product took the centre stage. Price has become more important than the product itself. That is why today we do not care what we are using. What matters is cheaper or expensive products but not the product itself. Several questions are unanswered like how is my products made, who all were involved in its making, will the product has any long term side effect. There is a solid disconnect between consumers and producers.
But its not all bad news. We are getting more and more aware. There are several like us who choose their products with great care keeping in mind the seller, producer and the environment. There is a concern and lots of minds are working towards making the supply chain more visible and sustainable. Gandhiji promoted and strongly believed in local economy which states that each unit/village should be self sufficient in terms of food, clothing, housing and other aspects of life. This idea brings lot of visibility as to how each action of seller as well as buyer leaves an impact on the surrounding. This model is more sustainable than current city model where everything comes from outside, even my drinking water is managed kilometres away. Now is the time we start working towards self sufficiency and fair trade.