|DON'T JUST BE FAIR, BUY FAIR|
|Written by Roberta Modena - Friday, 15 October 2010|
When you were little, you might recall complaining to your parents that “It’s not fair!” if you weren’t allowed to do something, or in my case, had to go to bed earlier than my friends did. Fair is one of those attributes that our parents tried to instill in us, even though we’ve all experienced at one time or another that “life just isn’t always fair.” Today, however, there’s a growing social and environmental movement which relies on fairness and it’s having a positive, global impact on the lives of women and children world-wide; it’s called Fair Trade.
You may have seen a Fair Trade symbol on an obscure brand of coffee, tea or dark, decadent chocolate bar at your local health food store. Have you ever thought about what it means? Basically, a product that carries this symbol means the producers of that product are receiving better trading conditions and earning “fair” wages for the products they create. It means farmers can feed their families and their children can goto school instead of working in the fields. It means a safe and healthy working environment free of forced labor. And in cases where fair trade certified coffee, tea and chocolate is certified organic, it also means the products you buy maintain biodiversity, provide shelter for migratory birds and help reduce global warming. So, when we support Fair Trade, we are genuinely making a powerful difference in the world. We not only support the people who make the items we consume and enjoy, but we also support the environment, women’s rights, children’s education, cultural dignity and peace building. Simply choosing to buy Fair Trade coffee over a conventional brand is a very responsible decision.
In the green industry, Fair Trade products go beyond agricultural products. They encompass some of the most artistic and beautiful hand-made clothing, jewelry, ornaments, baskets, accessories, and more. Created by hand, Fair Trade products give women an opportunity to work toward financial security through income generating projects. For example, the rural, pastoral Maasai women in Kenya saw their livelihoods literally dry up after a seven-year drought destroyed their homeland. Fair trade opportunities empowered them to make stunning Zulugrass jewelry from dried blades of grass. Now, over 1,400 hundred women are making colorful Zulugrass bracelets and necklaces known as The Leakey Collection. The fair wages they earn allow them to improve their living conditions, reunite their families, and send their children to school to receive a valuable education.
Many of these Fair Trade “works of art” are not available at mainstream shopping malls yet, they are widely available online and in many boutique stores all over the world. So, if you want to feel good about your next purchase, consider Fair Trade because purchases based on Fair Trade create demand for a fairer world by showing we value not just a product---but also the lives of the people behind it.
Transfair USA is the only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States and publishes a Where to Buy Fair Trade list on their website. Visit www.transfairusa.org.
Fair Trade Makes a Huge Difference
written by alice winchester, October 18, 2010
written by Kente Stole, November 07, 2010
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