THINK ABOUT IT: What Does Fair Trade Really Mean?

a prompting question from bonJOY


How often do you hear terms like fair trade, organic, sustainable, and ethically sourced… but don’t know exactly what they mean?

Fair trade: A social movement with the goal of helping producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions and to promote sustainability through fair wages and ethical treatment. Available as a certification through various organizations.

Organic: Farming practices designed to encourage soil and water conservation along with reducing pollution and contamination without the use of pesticides, GMOs, chemical fertilizers, dyes, antibiotics, or growth hormones.

Sustainable: Neither harmful to the environment nor depleting natural resources; in the case of human resources, able to be maintained and supported.

Ethically sourced: Workers are treated well, paid a fair wage, and aren't required to work more than legal limits.

Here are some more resources to help you gain clarification. Let us know what you discover in the comments! 

1. Browse Fair Trade USA to find answers to some frequently asked questions.

2. Learn to read between the lines when it comes to organic clothing. 

3. Check out our Q&A with Ted from BLUEdot about the latest label: carbon neutral.

Want to dig deeper? For more action steps, visit End Slavery Now.


bonJOY is a subscription box making it easier to discover and experience brands with impact. We source from fair trade partners who are committed to making a difference for trafficked, exploited, and at-risk women around the world. Each box supports these businesses and the work of major anti-trafficking organizations. Boxes ship monthly, quarterly, and on-demand.