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What does Fair Trade Certified mean?

What are the key principles of Fair Trade?

What is TransFair USA?

What is FLO?

How are Fair Trade projects certified?

What is the difference between Free Trade and Fair Trade?

Are Fair Trade products also organic?

With which Fair Trade projects does Rishi currently partner?

Can every tea become Fair Trade Certified?

What have Rishi Fair Trade premiums done in the past?

Why does Rishi need FLO?

Learn about our Organic practices

Facts about Fair Trade Tea

Rishi Tea’s Fair Trade FAQs?

What is Fair Trade?

Fair Trade is an alternative economic model that strives for global economic justice by honoring a fair price for products, fair wages and safe working conditions to workers, direct trade, environmental sustainability and community investment in developing countries worldwide. Fair Trade initiatives aspire to build equitable trading relationships between consumers and the world's most economically disadvantaged artisans and farmers.

Fair Trade projects work to eliminate unnecessary middlemen, enabling and empowering the farmers and artisans to develop the business capacity necessary to compete in the global market. Fair Trade Certified projects guarantee fair prices for products and offer an additional fund known as a “social premium." The social premium is invested directly back into the communities of the workers through educational, social and cultural development.

The Fair Trade initiative began in 1988 when a fall in coffee prices triggered an economic crisis for developing nations that produced and marketed coffee, which deeply impacted small farmers.

The Netherlands was the first country to promote Fair Trade certification through the first Fair Trade label, Max Havelaar. Shortly after that, many countries began to replicate Fair Trade certification.

Fair Trade Certified agricultural products currently include tea, coffee, cocoa, fresh bananas and mangoes, sugar, rice, flowers, honey and vanilla.

What are the key principles of Fair Trade?

There are six key principles to Fair Trade: a fair price for products, fair labor conditions, direct trade, democratic and transparent organizations, community development and environmental sustainability.

A Fair Price: Fair-Trade-certifying organizations establish a fair price, guaranteeing farmers and workers a living wage as well as an additional sum of money or “premium” for investment in social, environmental or economic development.

Fair Labor Conditions: Fair Trade workers and farmers are guaranteed safe working conditions and fair living wages. Forced child labor is strictly prohibited.

Direct Trade: Fair trade products are purchased directly from Fair Trade producers, eliminating unnecessary middlemen and allowing farmers to strengthen their organizations and become competitive players in the global economy.

Democratic and transparent organizations: Fair Trade producers within the farm or organization democratically decide how to use their Fair Trade premiums.

Community development: Fair Trade producers invest their Fair Trade premiums into projects that benefit the community and environment including but not limited to the following: improved healthcare, education, business, and farming improvements.

Read about Rishi Tea’s involvement with Fair Trade Projects and the Community Improvements the projects have helped foster.

Environmental sustainability: The Fair Trade system strictly prohibits the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), promotes the improvement of soil fertility through practices such as crop rotation and limits the use of harmful chemicals in favor of farming methods that protect and preserve the health of the soil, air, water, workers and consumers.

What does Certified Organic mean?

The Fair Trade Certified trademark indicates that a product has undergone rigorous inspection by TransFair USA and adheres to the strict economic, social and environmental standards set by Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO).

What is TransFair USA?

TransFair USA is non-profit third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. TransFair USA implements a thorough audit to verify compliance with strict international Fair Trade standards set by Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO).

This audit tracks the global supply chain from the farmer to the importer, to the product manufacturer, and finally to the retailer and end consumer. Rishi Tea and other Fair Trade importers provide quarterly reports detailing each Fair Trade transaction, allowing the tracking of certified products throughout the supply chain so as to ensure transparency and compliance.

Look for the TransFair Certified label on Rishi Tea products to ensure Fair Trade certification.

Read more here: http://www.transfairusa.org/about-fair-trade-usa

What is FLO?

Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), a nonprofit association based in Germany founded in 1997 to unite the Fair Trade labeling initiatives under one umbrella and to establish worldwide standards and certification.

Fair Trade standards are developed by the FLO Standards Committee, which is comprised of stakeholders from FLO’s member and producer organizations, traders and outside experts.

Read more here: http://www.transfairusa.org/certification/standards

How are Fair Trade projects certified?

Rishi Tea partners with Fair Trade producers who obtain certification through FLO.

FLO conducts a thorough inspection to verify that Fair Trade practices are established and Fair Trade standards met. Once compliance is recognized, FLO sets a minimum price on the product and negotiates a fixed “social premium” paid directly to the farmers for the tea produced. The minimum price varies per tea region and is reviewed and revised periodically by FLO. In 2009, FLO plans to set new minimum prices for each tea-producing region.

The social premium paid directly to farmers is 1 Euro or $1.47 per kilogram of whole leaf tea (also known as “Orthodox”) and .5 Euros or $0.73 per kilogram for tea bag cut, fannings or CTC. In addition to a premium, there is an administrative fee of $0.40 per kilogram of tea produced that goes directly to TransFair USA to cover marketing and other relevant costs. The administrative fee is included in the final sale price of the Fair Trade Certified™ product.

For every kilo of Fair Trade Certified product purchased, the importer is responsible for sending the Fair Trade premium directly to an elected association of workers, farmers and management, called a Joint Body. The Joint Body then votes on allocating the premium to projects that benefit community needs such as building schools and implementing cultural preservation initiatives, healthcare programs, clean drinking water systems and sanitation.

Read more here: transfairusa.org

What is the difference between Free Trade and Fair Trade?

Free Trade and Fair Trade are often confused, but each term represents a very different global market system. In the Fair Trade model, producers are guaranteed a fair price for their products based on a living wage in their local context. This ensures price stability regardless of price fluctuations in the global market and promotes income security for the workers. Fair Trade builds long-term trade relationships and encourages environmental sustainability.

In the Free Trade system, trade occurs between and within countries without any government-imposed restrictions. In this model, the trade of goods and services are allowed without taxes or other trade barriers such as trade policies, subsidies or laws. Free Trade also allows free access to markets and free movement of labor and capital between and within countries. Often, Free Trade between a developed country and a developing country transpires at the expense of the farm workers involved, as no laws regulate their wages or working conditions.

Are Fair Trade products also organic?

Because environmental sustainability is one of the key principles of Fair Trade, many Fair Trade products are also organic. However, Fair Trade certification does not guarantee that a product was organically grown. Look for the USDA Organic symbol to ensure organic compliance.

Read more here: transfairusa.org

With which Fair Trade projects does Rishi currently partner?

Mannong Manmai Fair Trade Project in Yunnan, China: 2007-present

Xuan En Yulu Fair Trade Project in Hubei, China: 2006-present

Jingmai Mangjing Antique Tea Garden Fair Trade Project in Yunnan, China: 2003-2008
The Jingmai Mangjing Fair Trade Project was comprised of a collective of small farmers growing 100% organic teas from an ancient tea forest that dates back more than 1,000 years. Rishi Tea was the first U.S. importer to purchase teas from this project.

Certified organic in August of 2001, The Jingmai Mangjing Fair Trade Project became Fair Trade Certified in September of 2003. The Jingmai Mangjing Antique Tea Garden is one of the most famous antique tea areas in China and an example of Fair Trade success.

Located in the Yunnan region of southern China in the district of Simao, the project grew to great success due to the substantial increase in demand for pu-erh teas. The project was able to meet and surpass the core values established by Fair Trade and enabled Jingmai Mangjing to establish new roads, build a community center and employ sanitation improvements.

In the last few years, the pu-erh markets in China and greater Asia have boomed significantly. Because of this increase in demand, villagers who are part of the Jingmai Mangjing Antique Tea Garden region, are able to sell their famous tea for prices that far exceed what Rishi Tea or any other tea export company can afford to pay.

Chinese pu-erh is sold within China for more than five times the amount that the U.S. and European Union pay. After this increase in demand for pu-erh tea, the Jingmai Mangjing Tea Association, Rishi Tea and our organic exporting partners in China concluded that Jingmai Mangjing would voluntarily withdraw certification because the U.S. and E.U. markets can no longer afford teas from Jingmai Mangjing.

As of July 29, 2008, Fair Trade Certification for the Jingmai Mangjing Ancient Tea Association has been retired.

Makaibari Tea Garden, Darjeeling, India: 1859 - present
Makaibari is one of the oldest tea gardens in all of India and ranked among the best producers of Darjeeling teas. Cradled in the foothills of the beautiful Himalayas in northeastern India and surrounded by forest, the Makaibari Tea Garden is home to 610 tea workers and their families. On large tea estates such as this, tea workers and their families commonly live year-round without adequate housing or access to education and healthcare, but the Makaibari Tea Garden has been a pioneer in producing 100% organic and Fair Trade tea.

With social premiums generated by Fair Trade funds, the Makaibari community has brought electricity to local villages and homes, created a community loan fund for housing, medical needs, education, livestock and small businesses, developed workshops to teach organic fertilizer production for use within the workers’ own homes, and provided scholarships to study horticulture in Darjeeling.

Rishi’s Darjeeling 1st Flush and Darjeeling 2nd Flush Muscatel originate from the Makaibari Tea Garden.

To learn more about the Makaibari Tea Garden, visit makaibari.com or transfairusa.org

Royal for Herbs, Giza, Egypt: 1985 - present
For centuries, Ancient Egyptians have harvested herbs and healing plants for their medicinal qualities and health benefits. Royal for Herbs has combined the wisdom of their ancestors with today’s technology to produce high quality organic and Fair Trade herbs and teas.

Rishi’s Organic Fair Trade Hibiscus and Organic Fair Trade Chamomile, originating from the Fayoum, Beni-sweif and Minia regions in Egypt, are harvested and produced by Royal for Herbs. Royal for Herbs developed these Fair Trade projects in 2006, greatly improving their workers’ quality of lives. The social premiums generated by Fair Trade funds have been used to improve healthcare, education and water quality for herb cultivators and their communities.

Learn more about Royal for Herbs here: royalforherbs.com

Can every tea become Fair Trade Certified?

Not every tea or product can become Fair Trade Certified. Some of the locations from which we import tea are not impoverished or underdeveloped, and thus do not need the extra funds that Fair Trade Certified products generate.

Fair Trade teas benefit those farms and workers in developing countries that are marginalized in the global market, allowing them to play a bigger role and achieve greater equality in international trade.

What have Rishi Fair Trade premiums done in the past?

Premiums generated from the Fair Trade projects with which Rishi Tea has been involved have helped foster social and economic development through the construction of new schools, roads, cultural centers, communication systems, health clinics, technical training programs, improved access to low-or no interest loans, improved sanitation, enhanced agricultural methods and sustainability efforts.

Why does Rishi need FLO?

There are many claims of Fair Trade without the necessary backing. Rishi Tea sells only Organic and Fair Trade teas that have been inspected and certified by an independent, third-party agency.

Without a strict, independent third-party certifying body such as FLO to supervise and enforce Fair Trade standards, the Fair Trade movement can easily be undermined.

Our Fair Trade teas bear the internationally recognized Fair Trade Certified logo, guaranteeing that farm workers and artisans in developing countries receive a fair deal.