Looking for a way to shop your values this holiday season? Check out our very best Fairtrade gift ideas to put people and planet first.
The holiday season is a time when we all try to give back. During December, we donate coats to those without, drop off canned goods for food drives, and buy gifts for kids in need. Because this is the season of giving, there isn’t a better time to shop in a way that supports equality, respect, and fairness worldwide—and the best way to do that is by shopping Fairtrade.
We’ve partnered up this holiday season with the non-profit organization Fairtrade America to shed light on some of the amazing products that are Fairtrade Certified, plus we’ll answer your questions about why Fairtrade is important to the future of our global community. We hope after reading this, you’ll be as convinced as we are that simple everyday actions, like choosing Fairtrade this holiday season, can be a powerful way to live your values!
What is Fairtrade, and why is it important?
Global trade is a complicated concept, but you don’t need a degree in economics to know farmers and workers in the Global South don’t often get a fair shake in the global market. Beyond the economic inequities, there are also social and environmental problems that impact all of us (like the fact that 152 million children are still in child labor globally).
Fairtrade is a way of doing business that challenges that system. By paying people fair wages, requiring safe working conditions, and limiting environmental impact, Fairtrade prioritizes people and our planet over profits.
What does it mean for a product to be Fairtrade Certified?
A Fairtrade America Certified product has to meet high standards in each of three areas to earn the coveted Fairtrade Mark. Here are a few examples:
- Economic: Farmers are better able to weather market shifts with a set Fairtrade Minimum Price based on the sustainable cost of farming, and they get a Premium on top of that for democratically chosen initiatives like improving infrastructure, supporting schools, and investing in the business.
- Social: Child labor is prohibited, working conditions are safe, and workers have the ability to organize (unionize).
- Environmental: No dangerous pesticides or GMO seeds are used, natural resources are protected, and organic farming is incentivized.
Why shop Fairtrade?
We vote with our dollars, and when we intentionally choose products that align with our values, we are casting a powerful vote for those values. So, the question is—what are your values? If you believe that all people deserve to get paid a decent wage for their hard work, work in a safe and respectful environment, and live sustainably, then Fairtrade is for you.
How can you tell if something is a Fairtrade product?
Shopping Fairtrade couldn’t be easier—you simply look for the blue and green Fairtrade Mark on a product (some products print it in only white or black), and you can feel confident that the product supports farmers and workers globally. The Fairtrade mark appears on more than 30,000 products and new products are hitting store shelves daily!
But wait, aren’t Fairtrade products super expensive?
By the nature of prioritizing people and planet, Fairtrade products typically cost more than conventional products. Here are two ways to reframe your shopping brain to see the value instead of sticker shock:
- Think of it as an investment—by spending $4 on a chocolate bar instead of $2, you are investing in the health, happiness, and economic security of another human being, plus the health of our planet.
- When shopping, instead of asking “why is this so expensive?” ask “what makes that product so cheap?”—you might find unfair wages, unsafe working conditions, and child labor lurking right under the surface of the cheaper product.
So what are you to do if you see the value in Fairtrade, but are looking at a low bank balance where two extra dollars for a candy bar can really make a difference?
Here at Wholefully, we’re a big fan of the middle path—especially around the holidays. If you can’t afford an entirely Fairtrade Certified gift, maybe you can source one part of your gift Fairtrade. Or maybe you can purchase a small Fairtrade item, and pair it with a thoughtful, homemade food gift. Progress, not perfection!
Where can you buy Fairtrade products?
Everywhere! You don’t have to go to a specialty store to shop Fairtrade. We’ve seen dozens of Fairtrade Certified products at local supermarkets! You can purchase Fairtrade products at stores worldwide, as well as find more certified brands on Fairtrade America’s website.
What are some awesome Fairtrade gift ideas for this holiday season?
We’ve been working over the past few weeks to test out all kinds of Fairtrade goodies to recommend to you for this holiday season! With over 30,000 Fairtrade Certified products out there, you are sure to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Here are a few of our favorite ideas.
Fairtrade Certified Chocolate Gift Ideas
For most people, a chocolate bar in their stocking on Christmas day is a sweet treat to enjoy, but there is nothing enjoyable about the millions of small-scale cocoa farmers around the world living in poverty, or the estimated 2.1 million children engaged in hazardous work producing cocoa in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Fairtrade chocolate meets standards that help small farmers improve their communities and businesses—it’s a treat you can feel wonderful about gifting on Christmas morning!
Fairtrade Certified Coffee
A bag of coffee makes a perfect stocking stuffer or hostess gift, but have you ever taken a moment to think about what goes into growing the beans in the bag? Small-scale coffee farmers often earn just $1.15 per pound of coffee beans. Two thirds of coffee farmers in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico live in extreme food scarcity up to eight months out of the year due to low wages. Fairtrade coffee guarantees a living wage for coffee farmers and guarantees you a product that is produced on a foundation of respect.
Products we love: Kicking Horse Swiss Water Process Decaf (one of the best decafs we’ve ever tried!) • Gimme! Coffee Leftist Daily Espresso Blend • Starbucks Gift Card (Starbucks is one of the largest purchasers of Fairtrade coffee in the world) • Kirkland Signature House Blend Coffee
Fairtrade Certified Pantry Gift Ideas
Have a baker or a foodie in your life? They’ll appreciate a gift of fancy ingredients to supplement their culinary adventures! Foods like vanilla, cocoa, and sugar are staples of any kitchen, but they are all incredibly labor intensive to produce and the industries are rife with inequitable distribution of profits. You can feel good about the gift you give by shopping for foodie gifts that showcase the Fairtrade Mark!
Products we love: Organic Fairtrade Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract • Jamnation Citrus Jam Set (or any jam set!) • Navitas Cacao Powder
Fairtrade Certified Bags and Apparel
Fairtrade isn’t just for edible products! When you purchase clothing and textiles made from Fairtrade certified cotton, you can be sure you are helping pay fair wages to farmers and supporting businesses that protect our planet. Don’t forget: a Fairtrade Certified bag makes a wonderful, sustainable, reusable gift wrap!
Looking for even more Fairtrade Certified gift ideas?
If you’re still searching for the perfect Fairtrade Certified gift, here are a few ideas to help you check off your list:
- Gift the gift of a fruit basket! Shop your local co-op or health food store for Fairtrade Certified bananas and avocados.
- Load up a Terra Thread Backpack with a bunch of your favorite Fairtrade goodies to send as a care package.
- Purchase a soft and cozy cotton pajama set from People Tree (only in straight sizes).
- Give the gift of comfort with sheets, bedding, and throws from Looma and Hüyla Home.
- Use this adorable pineapple beach bag as a gift bag for your favorite beach bum!
- Stuff stockings with some delicious Fairtrade snacks like KIND Bark, Field Day Fruit Spread, and Nature’s Path Espresso Vanilla Cream Granola.
- Make a tea-lover’s gift box with brands like Clipper, Organic India, and Sun Alchemy.
- Give the gift of equitable wine with the single largest producer of Fairtrade certified wines, La Riojana wines!
- Looking to splurge on something truly special? Shop the line of Fairtrade Certified gold jewelry pieces from Reflective Jewelry. We’re eyeing the Kamala Earrings!
We hope that you’ll take an extra moment or two this holiday season to keep an eye out for the blue and green Fairtrade Mark. Happy holidays!