At JustNeem, being a Fair Trade company is who we are. Fair Trade is at the core of all JustNeem’s products. But often customers and beauty buyers ask us “What actually is Fair Trade?” and “I thought Fair Trade was just for coffee.” or “Why should I buy Fair Trade?”
What is Fair Trade?
According to the International Fair Trade Association, Fair Trade is a trading partnership based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable developments by offering better trading conditions to marginalized producers and securing the rights of underprivileged farmers and workers. Fair Trade organizations are actively engaged in supporting producers, raising awareness, and campaigning for changes in the rules and practices of international trade.
What does that really mean? It means that Fair Trade companies commit to:
- Reducing poverty by providing opportunities for jobs and development to small producers and underprivileged workers in developing countries through production and trade.
- Enabling workers to move from income insecurity and poverty to economic self-sufficiency and ownership.
- Relationships with producers or farmers that are based on communication, honesty, respect, and a fair wage for a fair day’s work.
- Finding participatory ways to involve employees, members, and producers in decision-making processes.
- Working conditions that are safe, healthy, and adhere to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and national/ local law on the employment of children. The organization ensures that there is no forced labor in its workforce.
- Hiring practices that do not discriminate based on race, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, or age.
- Producing products that are made from raw materials that originate from sustainably managed sources and have the least overall impact on the environment.
Fair Trade is more than just trading: it proves that greater justice in world trade is possible.
Why Should You Care About Fair Trade?
Think about all the products you use on a daily basis. Where do these products come from? Who made them? The coffee you drink, the food you eat, the toys your children play with, the soap in the shower, or electronics have all been at least partly manufactured in another country.
For example, the clothes that you wear could have been woven by a child in India working 10 hours a day in a sweatshop or sewn by a woman in Uganda who earns too little to feed her family. Your beef may have come from cows that graze on fields that were clear-cut from once forested land.
Free Trade with poorer countries is endemic of a pressure to reduce costs and put bottom-line profits above the needs of people and the planet. Fair Trade products are produced under standards designed to end and prevent poverty, sweatshop labor conditions, and environmental degradation.
By buying Fair Trade products from companies and producers you support business practices that develop opportunities for people in the poorest countries of the world. And, your dollars support the use of renewable materials that have been harvested using practices that reduce environmental impact.
How does JustNeem Participate in Fair Trade Practices?
During a visit to Mauritania with a disaster relief organization in 2007, JustNeem owners Magda and Peter Radtke knew that they needed to help the communities in this poverty-stricken West African country. They learned that Mauritania consists of 90% desert and that many within their population suffer from extreme conditions caused by drought and the blazing desert sun.
As a result, JustNeem began to purchase Neem, a natural resource in Mauritania, paying villagers a fair market price for labor and goods. With this Neem, we make body care products for all skin types. A portion of our sales flows back into our “Planting Seeds of Hope” project in the southern part of the country. In collaboration with a humanitarian organization, we help establish a Neem nursery and orchard. There we grow Neem trees with their many medicinal benefits, Mango trees, Jatropha bushes, and seasonal vegetables. The purpose of this project is to provide independence and economic security to those in this impoverished area of the Sahara Desert.
JustNeem is guided by Fair Trade practices with an emphasis on longstanding development for rural populations in Mauritania. The communities we work within are not only learning to use this natural resource to generate income but also to improve both the health of their land and community members. Since Neem is capable of revitalizing the nutrient-stripped lands in the desert, sustainable crop development with multiple plants is now possible.
With every purchase of a JustNeem product 10% go back to fund the continued development of this desert Neem tree orchard. See some of our pictures HERE!
If you have ever wondered how JustNeem got it’s name, it is because we believe in justice through trade and the sustainability of planting a seed. A seed planted in the desert and a seed of hope that brings comfort to those with very little. JustNeem.
Fair Trade Items to Buy
If Fair Trade is important to you look for Fair Trade items when you shop. Ask your local stores to carry Fair Trade goods. Make your dollars count toward a global, healthy economy.
Fair Trade food items you can buy are bananas, mangoes, pineapples, nuts, rice, chocolate, coffee, herbs, spices, sugar, honey, tea, and beans. Fair Trade clothing, textiles, and accessories such as diamonds, gold, jewelry, handbags, belts, scarves, linens, and shoes can also be found at many retail locations. And of course, home goods and health products like body and skin care products, furniture, flowers, toys, artwork, gardening supplies, and even soccer balls can come from Fair Trade resources.