Fall is for Fair Trade

Here in the Midwest of the United States, we are witnessing the dramatic transition of seasons, with leaves turning colors and cooler temperatures. October means the arrival of Fall, but it is also Fair Trade Month. It is an appropriate time for us to espouse the benefits of fair trade shopping, but there are compelling reasons to permanently change your shopping habits by choosing fair trade items when they are available. Simply put, buying fair trade helps to ensure that workers are receiving fair wages, are employed in safe and humane working conditions, and are not being exploited. Companies have been taking steps to improve their supply chains (possibly due to transparency regulations, consumer demand, and/or good corporate citizenship), but many popular products continue to be plagued by slave or child labor in their supply chains. As consumer become more socially conscious, there are numerous resources available about fair trade products. In this article, we want to share a few of our favorite resources and fair trade companies.

A good starting point for a consumer looking to include more fair trade goods in their life is SlaveryFootprint.org. After spending a few minutes taking a survey, you will find out how many slaves work for you (based on your current lifestyle.) Although it’s not terribly comprehensive (that would require an exhaustive inventory of your purchases), it does provide a sobering look at the problem of modern day slavery and how your everyday purchases are connected.

Consumer goods, such as coffee and chocolate, both of which were notorious for slave labor at the bottom of the supply chain, are becoming more likely to have fair trade options. This article by UNICEF provides an additional explanation of fair trade, and includes the fair trade associations that certify products. So when you are in the grocery store, look for one of the association logos on the product packaging and you’ll know that your purchase is helping to combat human trafficking.

Deciding to change your shopping habits to be a better global citizen and social justice advocate is the first step. Admittedly, when you start finding out that some of your favorite products don’t have the best supply chains, it becomes more difficult to make those adjustments. It’s a process and a journey. Start small and try out some fair trade products, without trying to completely overhaul everything you purchase. We will leave you with a few of our favorite fair trade companies.

Freeset – this social enterprise based in India employs sex trafficking survivors in Kolkata. Products include tees, bags, and scarves. We buy our race shirts from Freeset.

Serrv – here you can shop for apparel, home goods and decor, and food items from artisans and farmers in 25 countries.

Ten Thousand Villages – much like Serrv, they carry a wide range of different fair trade goods.

MadeFair – an online retailer of ethical, sustainable and Certified Fair Trade apparel. Our new ambassador, Annabelle, will soon feature some of their items.

Citizen and Darling – an ethical clothing brand that fights human trafficking. We love their Freedom Fighter tees!

And finally, located right in our hometown of Troy, Ohio, Pachamama Market carries a variety of fair trade items, such as home decor, jewelry, clothing, and coffee and chocolate. If you’re in the Troy or Dayton vicinity, make sure you visit them!

Hopefully this post is informative, and will help you get on the path to becoming a socially conscious consumer, not just in October, but year round.

 

About Brett
World Race for Hope Director. Abolitionist. Coach and co-founder of Team G(race) at First United Methodist Church in Troy, Ohio.

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