A Clear Definition of Fair Trade

Ig Noble Prize

The Ig Nobel Prize which “honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think,” is a laugh-out-loud parody of the Noble Prize and a salute to the strange and silly in science.

For instance, the 2006 Peace Prize was awarded to Howard Stapleton of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, for inventing an electromechanical teenager repellent. (You can hear this year’s ceremony at NPR’s Science Friday podcast.)

During the ceremony’s 24/7 Lectures segment, a subject matter expert first provides a complete technical description in 24 seconds; and then a clear summary that anyone can understand in seven words. In this spirit, below is an explanation of fair trade —

First, a complete technical description in 24 seconds:
Fair trade is a sustainable system that endeavors to empower disadvantaged producers through payment of a fair price, democratically organized workplaces, technical assistance, social programming, equality for all, transparency, trust and environmental protection. It is a method of creating sustainable economies and new markets in otherwise poor developing countries, while simultaneously preserving traditional customs and practices. (Source: COFTA.)

And now a clear seven word summary that anyone can understand:
Fair payment for skilled but disadvantaged producers.


Thanks to COFTA (Cooperation for Fair Trade in Africa), a network of fair trade producer organizations in Africa, for one of the most comprehensive explanation of fair trade I’ve come across.