Around the world, farmers who struggle to make a living are often forced to engage in agricultural practices that compromise their land and surrounding ecosystems, such as deforestation and erosion, use of harmful agrochemicals and disposal of pollutants into the water supply. Fair Trade Certified environmental standards are some of the strictest in the industry. Fair Trade ensures that farmers follow internationally-monitored environmental standards, while empowering farmers and farm workers with financial incentives and resources for organic conversion, reforestation, water conservation and environmental education. Established Fair Trade prices give farmers the stability to practice sustainable growing techniques and are supported in learning new skills that will preserve their land for generations to come. This means that Fair Trade Certified products are not only better for the men and women who grow them, they’re better for the planet as well!
- Harsh agrochemicals and GMO’s are strictly prohibited, while alternative methods to monitor pests are promoted through Integrated Crop Management systems.
- Significant water sources are identified and protected against contamination by agrochemicals. And irrigation techniques and proper processing plants minimize water consumption.
- Conservation areas must be identified–buffer zones around water bodies and watershed recharge areas– left uncultivated and safely guarded against agrochemicals.
- New planting in virgin forests is prohibited, and cultivated areas within the farm are regenerated with natural flora and fauna to promotion agricultural diversification.
- Producer organizations cannot gather material from protected areas, and material gathered from wild, uncultivated areas must be done sustainability, ensuring long-term viability of native species.
- Harmful agrochemicals may not be used, sold, handled or distributed by Fair Trade farming organizations.
- Farmers must safely store and dispose of all agrochemicals and their containers, and cannot air-spray agrochemicals over buffer zones, residential areas, rivers and other significant water sources.
- Hazardous waste must be disposed of safely, and organic waste must be disposed of in a sustainable manner.
- Producers must be educated about how to properly handle waste in order to protect water quality, soil integrity and food safety.
- Farmers must take basic steps to enhance fertility and soil structure, such as tillage, irrigation and crop rotation, and have a system to monitor and evaluate compliance with Fair Trade standards.