Let’s face it, we’re pretty disconnected from the products that we buy everyday. Behind the beautifully presented products we purchase each day there is another story to tell of how it was made – so many steps and people are involved in the supply chain. We are being naïve if we think we can buy a dress for $29, in fact it’s somewhat a miracle that a store can offer products at these low prices. Someone somewhere is paying for it and it certainly isn’t the end user. If we were to understand the reality of what goes on it would shock us all into action.
I suspect, subconsciously we do know it can’t be right, fair, ethical but we’re all busy in our lives and it takes some sort of trigger to rid us of our complacency.
Here’s a few stats:
- 2 billion people in the world live on less than $2/day.
- ⅔ of the world’s cocoa, for example, is grown on West African farms by cocoa farmers who are earning 50 cents a day.
- 1.8 million children work on those cocoa plantations along the Ivory Coast and it’s unlikely they’ve ever tasted chocolate.
Although we do have FT options for bananas, chocolate & coffee, they, and many other products, often come from places where workers are being exploited.
The good news is…
there are plenty of things we can do by supporting businesses that:
- support workers rights
- pay fair wages
- provide good (and safe) working conditions
- prohibit child & slave labour
- promote environmental sustainability
- All the above are essentially principles of trading fairly and are recognised worldwide.
Essentially it’s all about supply and demand. People think it’s large corporations who are responsible for the products we see on our shelves & to a certain extent it’s true. But really, consumers rule the world!
A business wouldn’t put a product on a shelf that they didn’t think the consumer wanted. So for this reason demand impacts what is for sale and what is produced. Therefore, we have the power and as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. So if we as consumers can demand what is produced we have the responsibility to question how it’s being produced and that’s where the disconnect has come into play.
Fair Trade is not a charity it’s simply a different way of doing business. A different economic model where people and the planet are respected in a moral and ethical way.
You are also recognising artisans and their talents & skills, which have been handed down generation to generation, respecting their work and talent & keeping their culture alive. Under fair trade standards they are paid a salary which is uncommon in developing countries, giving them stability and the ability to send their children to school and pay for their healthcare.
MORE INFO SOURCES
Here’s some of the symbols of accreditation of fairly traded products to look out for around the world.
WANT TO LEARN SOME MORE? (INFO SOURCES)
- NZ Fair Trade or google your local Fair Trade Website.
- 10 Principles of Fair Trade. http://www.wfto.com/fair-trade/10-principles-fair-trade
World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) code of practise. http://www.wfto.com/our-path-fair-trade/wfto-code-practice
Have you wanted to make a difference, but you aren’t sure how? Or you wanted to join a group of people all making a difference? Join us for Free 7 Days to ‘Make A Difference’ – Living Live Ethically.
One person can only do so much but a community of concerned or shall we say conscious and caring consumers can collectively achieve so much more.