How to Help the World With Your Purchases

Posted on Aug 12 2020 - 9:00am by Samantha Clark

There are many organisations changing the way they use single use plastic. They’re dropping plastic straws, encouraging you to bring your own mugs and bottles to be filled, they’ve upped the price on carrier bags etc. Yet, there are some organisations that go above and beyond to illustrate their commitment and dedication to helping the plant and the people on it.

So which organisations are putting their money where their mouth is? Most of us have heard and know of Fairtrade, but for those of you that aren’t familiar, or want to know more about other global initiatives, we’ve completed a little overview for you.

Look out for the logos of these initiatives to support the work they do and in turn, do you put to do more for the plant and the people on it.

What is Fairtrade?

Fairtrade is about better relationships with organisations in developed countries, and farmers, workers, and companies in developing counties. This ensures that they get fairer prices, better working conditions and fair terms for trade.

Additionally, it’s also about local sustainability. As an example, this means:

  • Taking action when it comes to energy and greenhouse gas emission reduction.
  • It’s about prohibiting agrochemicals harmful to health and the environment.
  • It is the removal of harmful waste and a focus on water sustainability.
  • Some coffee and tea operatives are participating in reforestation too.

This isn’t the breadth of local sustainability either. The Fairtrade initiative is also about training programmes, education, and helping farmers in developing countries to market themselves effectively.

So, when you buy Fairtrade, you’re not only helping farmers in developing countries to build a thriving business and helping them to support their families, you’re also helping an initiative for a better planet.

Look for the Fairtrade logo when out shopping

Fair Trade

Although there is some focus on the organisation (for example, the working conditions) under Fairtrade, ultimately it is a focus on the raw products like bananas, coffee, tea, cotton, flowers etc. As such, an organisation can’t say they are Fairtrade (though they can say they have Fairtrade practices), they can say we have Fairtrade products.

What is Fair for Life?

Fair for Life is also about fair wages and excellent working conditions. But this is across the supply chain for any organisation whether in developing or developed countries. This means that an organisation with certification must give, whomever an organisation works with, these standards. Whether its growers, packers or distributors, it applies to all staff within the company. Everyone under Fair for Life is entitled health insurance, maternity and clear working hours.

It’s also a fully transparent system, with results certificated companies published publicly as to how they score against the many complex criteria. Again, it’s more than just about relationships; there is significant detail that must be evidenced to qualify against the environmental impact aspect. The environmental criteria includes: sustainable agricultural practices aiming for organic certification, energy management, climate change, waste management and ecosystem management including biodiversity and wildlife.

As an organisation wide initiative, if the organisation qualifies for certification it can say it is a Fair for Life certified company. Pukka Herbs and Neals Yard are just two of the major corporations operating within the UK that qualify.

Look for the Fair for Life logo:

fair for life

What is B Corp?

A B Corp organisation is a step further than a Fair for Life company. Organisations such as Innocent (smoothies), Pukka Herbs,  Abel & Cole, Ella’s Kitchen, Danone Activia and Dr Hauschka are just some of the examples of large organisations and brands that have B Corp certification.

These are all organisations that ‘meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose.’ (B Corps website).

Like Fair for Life, it is the whole organisation under scrutiny for their business practices and must meet strict criteria to be awarded certification. It’s also an initiative that affects those at board level requiring them to also balance profit and purpose.

The B Corp programme is about delivering a positive impact on people, society and the environment- both local and globally.

Look out for the B Corp logo on your favourite products:

B Corp Logo

Were you aware of these different initiatives? Do you currently buy Fairtrade, Fair for Life or from B Corp organisations? It is possible you may do already but hadn’t realised! Do have a look at the websites for Fairtrade, Fair for Life and B Corp for who is participating and what they do within their organisations to make a difference.

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