Friday, May 1, 2009

Why should you care about Fair Trade?

The phrase "Fair Trade" is bounced around this blog quite a bit. In fact it's even in our name! But what exactly is Fair Trade? And why should you even care?

I think the Fair Trade Federation says it best with its nine principles of Fair Trade. You can read all about them here but to give you a quick summary, those practicing Fair Trade aim to:

  • Alleviate poverty and create social and economic opportunities

  • Create transparency and accountability at every stage of the trading chain

  • Assist producers in learning how to access new markets

  • Educate that Fair Trade can be a means towards improving living standards, health and education in many disadvantaged areas.

  • Ensure that producers are paid a fair wage for their work.

  • Support safe and healthy working conditions free from physical, psychological, sexual or verbal harassment.

  • Respect and support the UN convention on the Rights of the Child

  • Promote environmental sustainability

  • Celebrate cultural diversity

These principles are very important to us and are the driving force behind why we work so hard at developing and promoting KVI.

According to a paper written by Terrence H. Witkowski for the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice in Fall 2005, despite promising trends, Fair Trade remains a relatively small industry, estimated at 0.01 percent of all world trade. This means there's a lot of room for growth - the industry is still characterized by networks of relatively small, non-profit organizations, rather than large profit making corporations.

We want to persuade you to join our cause and grow this industry. If perhaps not a retailer, as a consumer who makes the decision to buy Fair Trade.

Starting next week, in a feature entitled "All About the People" we will begin to show you our first hand accounts of how Fair Trade has made a difference in the lives of our suppliers. If you're going to choose to buy a fashionable piece or a unique gift why not let your purchase work two-fold - at keeping you trendy and helping someone earn a decent enough wage to support himself/herself and his/her family.


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