Eco-minded consumers have a lot of options to weigh, and the labels and certifications designed to help us are often more confusing than helpful. Imagine this scenario: You’re holding two jars of honey; one is produced locally and the other is fair trade certified but produced a few thousand miles away. Which should you choose?
You might consider that buying products from small, local producers helps support the local economy. It also reduces the miles that the product travels and the related transportation carbon emissions. On the other hand, fair trade certification helps support workers’ rights, fair labor practices, and responsible land management in developing countries.
Both options have worthy goals. Unfortunately, when choosing between fair trade and locally produced products, the most ethical and earth-friendly choice isn’t always clear.