Fair Trade No Longer a Four-Letter Word for Small Businesses

FairtradeFair trade. These two words typically conjure visions of happy workers, with benefits and decent pay, collecting whatever goes into making a triple grande nonfat latte. For the small business community though, there has been a dark side to fair trade for as far back as when it initially became popular. The best POS software companies, regardless of how intuitive and advanced their technology is, face the same predicament: how do you enact fair trade practices while still growing your bottom line?

Hire local, think global

Even as you most likely envision Starbucks, Newman’s Own, and the like practicing fair trade, this feel-good business fad might not actually be that: a fad. If the recent Bangladeshi nightmare is any indication, food and beverage companies aren't the only ones who could do with undergoing a little human rights makeover. While we may make our bread and butter by distributing POS software and hardware around the world, we make a conscious effort to hire tech employees based in the United States, even though many call center workers can be outsourced to less employee-friendly countries like India. Apple has also taken measures to ensure that the atrocities that occurred at Foxconn have largely dissipated.

Good news for everyone

While it may seem all well and good to promote human rights, most companies don’t know that a profit can actually be made from offering fair trade items. More people are willing to pay more for the best POS system when they know that the POS company’s employees aren't being abused in order to bring said product to the market. This is why more and more retailers are coming around to the idea of fair trade in addition to revenue increases. In a recent New York Times article, many prominent retailers expressed an interest in moving toward a fair trade model while other small business who had already implemented it claimed to be pleasantly surprised at the number of clients who asked for a history of their products and were willing to pay more once they found out the items were created with human rights in mind.

It has become fairly commonplace to find beef dishes at restaurants with a story of the cow behind the entrée. Many retailers expect the same for their establishments. Soon enough no one will think twice when they see a t-shirt with the cotton’s history displayed nicely on a supplemental tag. So do we expect to see future POS software and systems with their biographies attached? Only time will tell.