World Fair Trade day May 10th 2008
The Theme of this year’s World Fair Trade Day is ‘Fair Trade + Ecology ‘. World Fair Trade Day is the first global campaign for The Fair Trade movement connecting producers and customers around the world and is endorsed by IFAT.
We all know how important it is to support fair trade – we can literally use our money to vote for positive change if we insist on fair trade products. It means other people get a fair wage and a decent life, as opposed to supporting sweat shop labour and intensive farming with toxic chemicals which deprives people and the environment of a good quality of life.
Initiated by Safia Minney, founder of People Tree, World Fair Trade day sees events taking place in over 70 countries in the world. Organised events include Fair Trade breakfasts, talks, music concerts and fashion shows. Remember, fair trade doesn’t just stop at tea and coffee anymore, it embraces fashion, jewellery and handicrafts too.
The good news is that consumers ARE voting with their money, as is evident in the food buying trends. In 2003 there were approximately 150 certified Fairtrade products and by 2007 there were over 3000. In 2006 we spent £290m on fair trade food, furniture and clothing – an increase of 46% on the previous year.
Fair Trade proves that greater justice in world trade is possible. It highlights the need for change in the rules and practice of conventional trade and shows how a successful business can also put people first.
For too long, we, in the West, have had our lifestyles subsidised to the detriment of others across the world. SUpprting Fair Trade is one way in which we can reach a collective ethical evolution. Instead of buying the cheapest you can get, look at the ‘real’ cost behind every item you buy.
Ask questions such as ‘How much was the person paid to make this?’ If a t-shirt costs 99p, new, then how much do you think the machinist was given?
‘What working conditions are they in?’ Often working conditions in third world countries are similar to the living conditions of battery chickens in this country.
‘Are they subjected to dangerous chemicals without proper training and equipment?’ Cheap labour often means cutting corners. Plus health and safety regulations are not as tight as they are over here.
“Did a child make this for me?’ Many children are forced to work because their parents do not make enough to send their children to school.
‘What provision is there for this person’s future?’ In the case of gold, for example, what happens to the worker once the gold has all been mined?
To find your nearest FairTrade retailer, check out the BAFTS site.
Do you buy fairtrade? What are some of your favourite FairTrade companies?