Forests of the World
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About: Fair Trade

All of the products we sell are fairly traded. This means that the people who create them are compensated more fairly and work under better conditions than they might if they worked for an importer who did not follow fair trade practices.

The two graphs below show general differences in the way costs are distributed for fairly-traded goods versus other types of goods. The graphs show some estimated dollar amounts for a $5.00 purchase.

Fair Trade Importer

fair trade importer graph


Other Importer

other importer graph


You can see that the compensation that producers (weavers, sewers - those who sew - and artisans) receive is markedly different under the two models. Fair trade means:

  • paying a "living" wage which can cover food, shelter, education, and health;
  • healthy and safe working conditions;
  • public accountability;
  • environmentally sustainable production;
  • giving a percentage of sales back to community development projects.

Freight costs, which are the costs for actually bringing the goods to stores where they are sold, can be significantly higher for fairly-traded goods, up to 50% of the product's cost. That's because these products are often produced by small artisan groups, so they may be shipped in smaller quantities. This sometimes requires air freight or other expensive types of transportation.

We were a member of the Fair Trade Federation from 1993 until 2008, when unfortunately the cost of membership exceeded our budget. Even so, we continue to be ardent practitioners of natural capitalism.

Like all Fair Trade Federation members, are committed to the following principles and practices in our trading relationships: fair wages; cooperative workplaces; consumer education; environmental sustainability; financial and technical support; respect for cultural identity; and public accountability.

Co-op America logoWe are also a member of the Co-op America Business Network. Co-op America's mission is "to harness economic power--the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace--to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society." Membership in their business network is screened, and is open to companies that are: using business as a tool for social change; values-driven; socially and environmentally responsible; committed to extraordinary and innovative practices that benefit workers, communities, customers, and the environment.

Forests of the World, LLC
1410 Cross St. / Durham, NC 27701
(919) 957-1500 / info @