What Is Wholesale Fair Trade?

Helen Akers

Wholesale fair trade is the partnership between wholesalers and producers of goods that are from economically disadvantaged countries or socioeconomic groups. The goods that are sold are often self-made specialty items or products from small, privately-owned companies. Organizations that specialize in wholesale fair trade offer what they consider to be a fairer price for the goods than a traditional wholesaler would. They partner with retailers interested in promoting more equitable business practices and offering clientele a product that supports economic equity.

Wholesale fair trade coffee and coffee beans.
Wholesale fair trade coffee and coffee beans.

Many wholesale fair trade companies partner with manufacturers of goods in third world countries. Distributed products come from farmers and artists who live in poor regions of continents such as Latin America and Africa. If these manufacturers were to attempt to sell their products the traditional way, they might be offered a price that would not support a minimum standard of living. Wholesale fair trade seeks to pay a price that is fair given the local country's market conditions.

In order for goods to be considered fair trade, they can not be produced using child labor.
In order for goods to be considered fair trade, they can not be produced using child labor.

One of the goals of fair trade is to help smaller and independent manufacturers move themselves out of poverty. There are some wholesale companies that target goods that are created and manufactured by women. Historically, the economic status of women has been less than that of men, even in industrialized nations such as the United States. When resellers agree to buy fair trade products they are helping to eradicate some of the barriers that prevent disadvantaged groups from achieving upward mobility.

Products that are distributed through wholesale fair trade are typically marked with a label so consumers can make a conscious choice to support manufacturers that are part of an economically disadvantaged group. The power behind consumer spending is strong enough to influence whether a product is carried within a store. If there's not enough sales volume to justify carrying a line of products or if the reseller can't make enough profit that line could very well become discontinued.

Besides promoting the economic welfare of groups of people who find it difficult to earn a sustainable wage, fair trade also encourages environmentally safe practices. It attempts to ensure that manufacturers do not employ child labor or use unsafe working practices. Wholesalers want to establish long-term bonds with suppliers and look for manufacturers that provide opportunities for advancement across all social groups. In addition, fair trade wholesalers want their suppliers to be willing to take accountability for their business and its actions.

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