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Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Fairness of Trade

The Fairness of Trade

Today is World Fair Trade Day, and it gets me to thinking (since my mom mentions going to Walmart and the building collapse in Bangladesh), how many really know and understand fair trade.

According to Fair Trade began modestly in the 1940s when a few small North American and European organizations reached out to poverty stricken communities to help them sell their handicrafts to well-off markets. Later, a fictional Dutch character, Max Havelaar, was developed as an advocate for exploited coffee pickers. Today, Fair Trade is a global effort. Consumers can enliven developing countries, relieve exploitation and promote environmental sustainability by purchasing Fair Trade-labeled tea, cocoa, fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, sugar, honey, wine, flowers, grains and rubber products.

How does this tie into everyday purchases? When we as consumers read the labels "made in ____" fill in the blank, we are making the purchase power of a lifetime. We can say through that purchase that I will make sure this will not go towards the exploiting of the environment, of people and countries. So here are some steps, look for labels that say fair trade. Look for clothing that is made in the USA or call up the companies and ask how their products are made and how they treat their employees.

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