"I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth will starve in the process." -Benjamin Harrison
Have you ever stopped to buy lemonade from a kid selling it on the corner? They might have been asking a quarter for the cup of lemonade and if you didn't have change you might have given them the dollar because they were a cute kid? But you would never consider bargaining down and only paying them a penny! That is what typically happens in third world countries when foreign companies come in and buy their goods or services.
Today is International Fair Trade Day. What does fair trade mean? It means just what it sounds like. A person producing a good or service should be paid a fair price for doing so. Anything less is extortion.
So many things that we buy at the store, are shockingly cheap. Like a bar of chocolate that came all the way from Africa and only cost a dollar. Acccording to TreeHugger.com:
"The truth behind chocolate is not-so-sweet. The Ivory Coast is the world's largest cocoa producer, providing 43% of the world's cocoa. And yet, in 2001 the U.S. State Department reported child slavery on many cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast. A 2002 report from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture about cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast and other African countries estimated there were 284,000 children working on cocoa farms in hazardous conditions. U.S. chocolate manufacturers have claimed they are not responsible for the conditions on cocoa plantations since they don't own them."
Lotions are another product to buy fair trade. I wrote last month about shea butter in lotions.Most of the shea butter on the market in the United States and Europe is not fairly traded. The women who gather the nuts and hand craft this remarkable oil receive only a tiny fraction of the final price. This happens with the raw ingredients of so many products that we use on a daily basis.
This Mother's Day weekend, make a pledge to help women and children everywhere by buying products that are fairly traded without child labor and adverse work conditions. Product that are made by workers who receive a fair wage. Just for starters look for fair trade, tea, coffee, chocolate (try Cocoa Zen), sugar, rice, lotion (try Alaffia), spices, cotton and jewelry (Real-jewels). Here is a link to a fairtrade online store that is a good place to start, but check out labels on products and look for the fair trade seal!
In the US, Fair Trade Certified™ food products carry the label of the US Fair Trade certifying body, TransFair USA. This label certifies that the farmer has received a fair price for the commodity.
In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.