When you look on the back of many products like chocolate, coffee, and paper goods, there are often little labels. While some of us might look for a gluten free label first (like me, hi) or a dairy free label, or a nut-free label, many people look for labels that mark if the item is Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance Certified.
But what do these certifications mean?
When a product is marked as “Fair Trade”, it means that the company has adhered to fair trade guidelines set up by various organizations (that can audit the company to make sure they are adhering to these guidelines). Fair Trade usually means that the company is paying all of their employees a sustainable living wage making sure there is no child or slave labor, setting standards for growth practices at individual and company levels, checking in on the supply chain to ensure quality, and encouraging/providing community education, leadership opportunities, and development projects. Fair Trade goes beyond job opportunities and can even mean studying the plants and crops to monitor for diseases in some cases. Another huge aspect of Fair Trade is a transparent supply chain so the consumer knows what type of organization they are supporting and what impact their dollar has across the world.
You have seen the little rain forest frog stamp on the back of many products at a variety of grocery stores. While it is cute, it has a bigger meaning. The Rainforest Alliance is an international nonprofit that works with businesses and growers to ensure rainforest friendly business practices. Rainforests are hugely important to our planet, sometimes even considered the “lungs” of the earth. However, agriculture is responsible for up to 80% of rainforest deforestation. This affects everything from the animal species that live in the rainforests, to the native people who inhabit them, to our planet as a whole due to climate change. When you buy something with the Rainforest Alliance Certification frog stamp you are contributing to rainforest sustainably harvested business practices which help fight climate change (yes, really).
So while it may be a more expensive chocolate or coffee purchase, buying Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance Certified products are a great way to help protect our planet’s natural beauty and help combat climate change. Little incorporations to your daily routine, like these, can have lasting impacts on our planet!