Whether you’re a coffee aficionado, a huge chocolate lover, or a tea enthusiast, you might have come across the Fairtrade certification more than once. Around for more than two decades, the Fairtrade organization ensures that a set of standards are met in the production and the supply of a product or ingredient (Fairtrade org, 2022).
In other words, the organization makes sure that every farmer and worker received their fair share for every product or service produced, as well as ensuring that the worker’s rights are fulfilled in the process.
Now, you might think that this should be common sense, right? Well, despite the positive impact Fairtrade has on the local producers and their communities, a lot of companies are reluctant to work with Fairtrade partners…for their own reasons.
As a company working with a fairtrade cooperative in Senegal for its special ingredient, the Baobab Fruit, we want to share our own experience and bring some insight into the positive impact driven by our collaboration with a coop of 20 women in Senegal.
A great tool for empowering women’s financial independence
In several countries and cultures around the globe, women are often responsible for the harvesting, collecting, and transformation of certain fruit and vegetable. This is no different In Senegal, where the fruit of the Baobab tree is traditionally harvested and processed by women.
Once processed, the Baobab fruit is then sold on the local market at a fraction of the price. Which of course, is not enough to financially support their family daily.
This economic activity is more than often the only source of income available for these women, and therefore, they must rely on their husband’s, (or any other family member’s) income to fill the gap.
This is where Fairtrade comes in handy. By ensuring a fair price for each Kg of Baobab fruit sold, the Fairtrade certification makes it possible for these women to generate enough income to cover their daily expenses. Whether it’s buying food, school supplies, or medications for their children, they are now able to provide for the needs of the whole family. They can also support the education of their children much longer, without relying on anyone else.
Increasing cooperation within the community
Even if the increased prices have a positive impact on the financial independence of each worker, the Fairtrade certification also has a tremendous impact on stimulating cooperation among the different stakeholders.
This is exactly what we witnessed in Senegal. Indeed, we were struck (and of course super excited) to see how many people were involved in the whole supply chain and how it stimulates several industries and little business in the local economy.
But more importantly, we were delighted to see how each one of them had equally the chance to express their concerns and raise awareness on certain aspects of their work. This constant dialogue between the various actors of the industry allows them to find concrete solutions, all in order to significantly increase the social impact of each member.
This transparent and democratic way of conducting business allows everyone involved in the supply chain (us included) to get better tracking and understanding of the true social impact it has on the communities.
Furthermore, it allows us to give you a clear tracking of the Baobab fruit we use and ensure that your support makes its way to Senegal.
Better ingredients for you, our communities, and our planet.
Even if we witnessed the tremendous social impact Fairtrade has on the coop members we work with, we were also able to see how impactful this way of conducting business is on environmental sustainability.
In order to be certified Fairtrade, producers, and farmers must respect several environmental standards to make sure that their practices cause less to no harm to the environment. These standards are also coupled with training offered directly to the farmers.
We agree that this looks great on paper, but how does it translate on the field? For our Baobab, it means no use of pesticides, modified organisms, or harmful chemicals during the whole harvesting and transformation process. In addition, we also witness how the transfer of knowledge was fluently carried out through the workers responsible for the harvesting and transformation of the Baobab fruit. Thanks to the training programs put in place by the cooperative, these efforts allow us to get the most natural and sustainable Baobab powder in Canada.
There is no doubt that Fairtrade has a tremendous social impact on the communities harvesting some of the most essential resources on our planet. Being able to see the concrete impact fairtrade has to the communities we work with for the harvesting of one of the most powerful superfoods on the planet, the Baobab fruit, is nothing less but a humbling experience.
Whether it is by empowering women’s financial independence, stimulating cooperation between several stakeholders, or ensuring that the fruit is harvested with such respect for our planet, we can’t stress enough how this way of conducting business is key in our fight for climate change and social equality. Because at the end of the day, WE decide if we are part of the problem…or the solution
- Tags: Fair Trade