This year, World Fair Trade Day took place on 9 May. Did you make any sustainable purchases this week?
Buying products that were made ethically and gives the makers a fair price for their work is a conscious choice we can make everyday. To make this easier for you, we have made a list of shops selling Fair Trade products in Brussels and Leuven.
What Is Fair Trade?
The concept of Fair Trade is simple. Producers work in a safe and ethical environment and receive a fair price or premium for their work. The ultimate goal is international trade where everyone involved is treated equal.
There are many claims to the start of the Fair Trade movement. Some claim Max Havelaar as the initial inspiration but there are more concrete examples. The first Fair Trade Shop opened in 1958 in the US and Oxfam shops also began selling Fair Trade products around that time. The Fair Trade Organisation was officially established in 1964. Since then, more and more producers are working towards better working conditions and fair partnerships.
Why Fair Trade Matters
Fair Trade is about creating trade justice. Farmers and producers at the very start of the supply chain often get the smallest share of the profits. Through fair wages and prices, these communities can earn a stable income, build savings and lift themselves out of poverty.
How to Recognise Fair Trade Products
There are many sustainability labels and certifications. So many that it can be difficult to understand what they all truly mean. The same applies to Fair Trade labels.
The most common and highly trusted Fair Trade certification is that of Fairtrade International. This organisation is 50% producer-owned, promises a minimum price + premium for its farmers and producers and supports collectives for sustainable development.
Does this mean products without a Fair Trade label are not fair? That depends. Some shops take great care in choosing their suppliers but work with small scale producers that don’t have certification (yet). It is up to you to make an informed decision.
Where to Buy Fair Trade in Brussels
Some spots where you can shop sustainably in the capital.
1 – Oxfam Fair Trade
This Oxfam shop is in the middle of the city centre but you can also shop online. Affordable prices and great variety of products.
2 – Dedicated
Organic and Fairtrade cotton clothing. Available online and 2 shops in Brussels that carry the line.
3 – Newtree
Fairtrade chocolate delicacies with a coffee shop, too. Treats on the terrace, anyone?
Where to Buy Fair Trade in Leuven
Fair Trade shops in one of Belgium’s most popular student towns.
1 – Sway
Large collection of clothing and accessories brands with ethically made products.
2 – Biotoop
A fairer place to do your daily groceries. Everything you put in your shopping basket is organic.
3 – Fairco
Unique handmade products from all around the world. Run by a small and passionate team.
Where to Buy Fair Trade Online
Covid-proof Fair Trade shopping from your living room.
1 – Kalani
Natural home linen so you can have the sweetest dreams. These sheets feel as good as in a hotel
2 – ‘t Vlierbos
Organic and sustainably sourced jams, syrups and confits. Perfect for the sweet tooth.
3 – Kari’T Care
A Belgian-Benin cooperative selling natural artisan soaps. Each soap is made according to ecological values and traditions.
By Abigail Gerrits