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Fair Trade: Also Good for the Environment!

Fair Trade Certified LogoThere are lots of benefits to buying Fair Trade items, such as helping farmers and workers in developing countries.  But, did you know that it can be better for the environment?

Many Fair Trade items are often organic.  Currently, over 60% of Fair Trade Certified coffee in the U.S. is also certified organic.  Even if they're not certified organic, they often produce things in a more eco-friendly way such as minimizing herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants as much as possible.  The Fair Trade certification limits the use of agrochemicals, instead favoring environmentally sustainable farming methods.  Fair Trade also helps small farmers become organic-certified.

Another way that Fair Trade products help the environment is that the products are usually grown in smaller farms, which use land more efficiently than larger and commercial farms. They will usually grow many crops in one area (this is called "intercropping"), along with livestock.

In the U.S., the following items can be found under the Fair Trade certification label: coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate, fruit, sugar, rice, vanilla, and herbs.  This differs in other countries.

Fair Trade items are becoming easier and easier to come by, especially when it comes to coffee and chocolate!  You can even find them at some major chains near you.  Some chains that offer Fair Trade products include:   

- Ben & Jerry's
- Bruegger's Bagels
- Peet's Coffee
- Noah's Bagels
- Dunkin Donuts
- Starbucks

There are many more out there, but not everything that these places serve is Fair Trade, so either read the labels or ask before purchasing.

GlobalExchange has lots of info about Fair Trade and the environment.  Read their PDF here

You can learn more about Fair Trade at FLO.