A beginner’s guide: the 3 ideals that are the basis of Fair Trade.

The idea of “Trade not Aid” began way back in the early 1940’s. Then in 1964 the first Fair Trade Organisation was started by Oxfam UK to correct the imbalance in traditional trade systems by:

1. Giving fair access to markets

2. Fair wages for work

3. And good environmental standards


Think of it this way

Unfair Trade the wealthy buyer has all the power and can ask for a very low price to buy the goods because the poor grower/maker has no other way to sell their products overseas. The buyer still sells the products at the price the market can bear, but gets to keep all the profit and not share it equitably with the grower/maker.

Fair Trade makes sure that the grower/maker receives a living wage, a wage that takes into account the real costs of growing the produce or time that it takes to make the products and what it costs to live in the country where they are made. It shares the profits more equitably between the buyer and the grower/maker.


Unfair Trade the wealthy buyer doesn’t prioritize the environmental impacts of how the products are grown or made as they can always go somewhere else to buy them if this grower/maker cannot produce them anymore.

Fair Trade knows that without a healthy environment the grower/maker cannot continue to produce and that the whole community is impacted by bad environmental outcomes and so looks to the long term care of the natural resources.


Fair Trade now includes 10 Fair Trade Principles

These are the principles that Import Ants as a Fair Trader follow when buying and working with our producers in Sri Lanka.

After all it’s only fair.