August 3, 2013


You may or may not know what is meant by the term “Fairtrade” when it comes to food and drink. I’m pretty sure though, (regardless of if you do or don’t truly understand what it means,) you’ve heard the phrase thrown around quite a bit of recent time. Or even longer than that. And “thrown around a bit” it should be. In an ideal world, we would ALL understand what Fairtrade means and we would all be doing our very best to support it and ensure that Fairtrade options were available across every type of food and beverage we throw in our shopping bags each week. Sadly, this is not the case, but there is hope! Let’s start at the beginning….

Instead of paraphrasing or doing a half-baked job of defining Fairtrade for those of you who aren’t quite sure what it’s about, it’s better for me to quote from a source that explains all of this far more eloquently that I can. So, without further ado, according to,

Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.”

Sounds bloody good doesn’t it? They go on to say,

“Fairtrade delivers a better deal for farmers and producers in the developing world through:

  • A fair and stable price for their produce
  • Security of long-term contracts
  • Investment in local community development
  • Improved working conditions
  • Environmentally sustainable farming methods
  • Support in gaining the knowledge and skills needed to operate successfully in the global economy.”

There are a few local businesses walking the talk when it comes to Fairtrade, (but nowhere near enough!) In any case, one that really stands out to me in Australia is República®. I was so impressed with their products when I came across them, (both in how they tasted and how they were created), and I was equally impressed with and inspired by Jacqueline Arias, their founder. I knew straight away that these guys would be the perfect Case Study for this post. I hope you enjoy what Jacqueline had to say below.

CASE STUDY: República®

Tell us about your company, República®. Where does the story begin?

A bad coffee in Colombia led me to create República®. It was a trip back to my birth country Colombia with my Canadian husband and two Aussie kids; we thought we’d be drinking some of the best coffee on the planet. Sadly, we couldn’t get a decent cup of coffee, instant was the best and the better option was an imported brand from the US or Europe. I realised then that some of the foods we love to eat and drink every day, like coffee, chocolate, spices come from Third World countries, where the locals are paid very, very little and have no understanding of the value their products command in places like Australia.

I came back from my holiday, with the mission to build the most ethical food brand in Australia.

Why is Fairtrade so important to you?

70% of the world’s foods come from small-scale farms, and half of the world’s hungry people are these farmers. So they give their very best everyday to grow the foods we love, yet they themselves go hungry. This is simply not fair. We all want and deserve to be paid fairly, for a day’s work, no matter where we live, Australia, Mexico or Timor. Fairtrade ensures Farmers in Third World countries are paid a Fair price for their work and produce. Fair pay for a day’s work, that’s fair.

On the world stage, in terms of Fairtrade product availability, where does Australia rank?

Australia has been slow in the take up of Fairtrade, in the UK, the US there are thousands of Fairtrade products, from coffee, to rice, to spices, to shoes, to cosmetics, to gold. In Australia it’s limited to three products, coffee, tea, chocolate. But I can see that’s changing, Fairtrade is the fastest growing ethical trend around the globe and Australia is catching up. We Aussies like to play fair, I believe that once we understand what Fairtrade means, how it works, we Aussies will gladly change our choice to Fairtrade certified product.

What can the average Aussie do to improve this position?

We all have the opportunity to make an ethical choice at the checkout. I would encourage that when you go to the supermarket to buy your coffee or tea, choose a Fairtrade certified product, like República®. That way you will be ensuring someone on the other side of the planet is getting a better chance of making a decent living, you get a great tasting product. It’s a win win for all.

Note: This is in NO WAY a sponsored post. All of my sponsored work, as you know, is clearly disclosed. Fairtrade is simply an issue that I, personally, wanted to write about. I believe the use of a case study helps to explain what it’s all about.

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