Blood diamonds, or “conflict diamonds,” have been a hot topic since the 1990s. After civil war broke out in central and western Africa, diamond profits were used to fund wars, weapons, slavery and anti-government rebellions. Children and families were forced into slavery to mine diamonds, and the gemstone funded extreme violence and war among communities, destroying stability and peace. To this day, blood diamonds are perpetuating poverty in areas around Africa especially.

The Kimberley Process

The Kimberley Process was initiation in an effort to eradicate this cycle of slavery and violence surrounding the stone. This process was designed to turn blood diamonds into conflict free gems, and entailed certification of place of origin, how it was mined, where it was cut, who was involved in all processes and the intended destination of export.

The idea was to create a sort of passport for the diamond, so that buyers and consumers would be able to verify the ethical sourcing of the product; making sellers accountable for the diamonds they handled was a way to increase ethical practices.

While the Kimberley Process was a good theory, there were a few problems with it: since many people were involved in the process, sellers were still able to use bribery and violence to fake certification, and the process only regulated how the proceeds were used.

As long as it was not funding a war, weapons or means of overthrowing a government, the diamonds were given the stamp of approval. This leaves a huge problem that still runs rampant today — the inhumane conditions of which miners endure.

Worker Treatment and Fair Trade

Many workers are actually slaves, taken for the purpose of harvesting blood diamonds. Those who came to work willingly are underpaid, mistreated, abused and working under backbreaking conditions. While the Kimberley Process addresses the crisis of blood diamonds funding war and slaughter, the giant blank space remains that diamonds are unethical under the certification.

The need for ethical sourcing is as relevant as ever, especially with the millennial push for fair trade. While other luxury items like electronics and fine wines are booming, the diamond market has been stagnant for years. The current generation cares about ethical conditions, sustainability, and environmentally responsible practices. Knowing that blood diamonds are perpetuating poverty, millenials are abstaining from consuming the product at all.

This push has led big companies such as Tiffany and Co. and De Beer’s Forevermark to enforce stringent standards on their diamonds. Whether they choose to only buy from Canada, or work directly with the diamond sellers, they are listening to the push for fair trade.

Ethical Sourcing

While this is a great start, the issue remains that it is very hard for even experts to tell a diamond’s origin. Not knowing where the diamond came from makes it difficult to tell if it came from somewhere practicing conflict-free practices or not. While things like the coffee bean have been bursting with fair trade market placement, diamonds have remained an emotionally heavy issue — people are still dying over these goods. Blood diamonds are perpetuating poverty, even now.

While many argue to simply stop buying from problematic countries all together, the issue remains that a lot of poverty-stricken people rely on the mines for food. Children drop out of school to work in the diamond mines so they can contribute to feeding their families.

While they are working in inhumane conditions, boycotting the diamonds would also mean boycotting a family’s dinner, or a child’s milk for the week.

Possible Solutions

A solution discussed by committees for human rights has often been to enforce fair trade standards, as done with coffee. While cutting off the problem would also cut off the poverty stricken workers, working with the sellers would help them keep their jobs.

Involving the sellers in the process, and making them a part of the solution, would not only ensure humane practices and improve the lives of the workers and decrease the slave trade, but would it would also motivate sellers to enforce ethical practices.

Such methods worked in the coffee industry, and many propose that it could work in this industry as well. Such moves would turn a corrupt business into a viable income for those entrapped in it.

While the line is a fine one, finding the balance between helping sustain diamond workers and holding sellers accountable is attainable. Places like Botswana and Namibia are already starting to put stricter and more humane standards into place. In time, the hope is to ensure consumers that their gems are ethically traded, just like their espresso beans and fair trade clothing.

A Conscientious Future

This generation is a conscientious one, and that alone might be enough to propel the fight for ethics forward in the diamond industry. Rather than omitting diamonds in luxury, consumers need to either buy from ethically conscious sources, or demand higher standards from those not yet practicing conflict free practices. The demand and need for diamonds must remain in order to make a difference in the lives of those who mine them.

Blood diamonds are perpetuating poverty now, but with the pressure of loud voices and those with deep pockets, the tide will hopefully shift more dramatically in favor of ethical sourcing and humane worker treatment.

– Emily Degn

Photo: Flickr

fair trade coffee in Colombia
Colombia is a land known for its jungles, food and, of course, the coffee industry. Four million of  Colombians rely on the coffee bean for income. While coffee is the second most profitable industry in the world, 30 percent of the country still lives below the poverty line. These valuable coffee farmers are living on less than $2 a day, and yet are at the forefront of the global economy.


Coffee Farm Wage Discrepancies

This discrepancy is largely due to two factors: the middlemen are making 87 percent of the profits, and most farms are too small to become “fair trade certified” in order to sell fair trade coffee in Colombia. It is an unprofitable business for the growers but is central to Colombia’s and the world’s economies.

This disconnect perpetuates poverty in the country, as well as creates a lack of interest in the youth to continue the coffee business. Children grow up watching their parents struggle on the farms and receive little pay from buyers, and witnessing such hardship significantly impacts the next generation’s well-being and career foci. There is now a growing trend of these growing sons and daughters not only leaving their communities to escape rural poverty, but participating in criminal activity and gang life due to lack of education, and a support system elsewhere.

As the coffee farmers struggle, crime increases, and in a cyclic motion, so does poverty. Fair trade coffee in Colombia is key to abolishing such high rates of poverty within the economy.

The country has been taking measures to focus on growing profits from the industry and works to address the poverty issue at hand. The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation has been working to spread fair trade coffee in Colombia, transparent and fair prices and humane working conditions for farm workers.


One Improvement at a Time

Thanks to new and required minimum price lines on the beans, and large-scale corporations stepping in to help, Colombia is slowly improving living conditions for their farmers, making it a viable income for many. Making coffee have a required fee guarantees that farmers make a certain profit. The farmers can charge more if they’re able, but doing so deters buyers from taking advantage of the small farms.

Starbucks is one of the large corporations practicing direct trade in order to ensure fair price for both parties. They don’t buy from middlemen. They go straight to the farm. This practice is spreading slowly among coffee chains, thanks to the ethical sourcing being already embraced by a few.  


Fair Trade Certification

A huge problem in the improvement process of this industry is the price to become Fair Trade Certified. Most of the coffee farms are small and lack the funds to gain certification. Many even already implement the practices involved, but are not able to participate in the movement and thus cannot gain the associated Fair Trade Certified market advantages.

Due to this occurrence, the National Federation of Coffee Growers strives to give easier access to the certification of small farmers, and lower costs. The Federation has already implemented measures to improve the sustainability, working conditions and economic value of the coffee business as a whole.


Fair Trade and Colombia

Colombia has a goal now to be certified nationwide by 2027. The government is working very closely with the different organizations to achieve this and is making the coffee business the nation’s business.

Thanks to conscious buyers, and chains that buy directly from the farmers, the country might be able to pull through with this achievable goal. The movement for fair trade coffee in Colombia has already gained a significant amount of traction in the United States and Great Britain, and small coffee farmers could be the key to raising Colombia out of poverty.

– Emily Degn

Photo: Flickr

In the village of Thanapara in Bangladesh, the Thanapara Swallows Development Society is creating fair-trade products in an effort to better develop social and economic situations for the poor. In 1973, the society was founded as part of the Swedish organization The Swallows. It has been a fully operational and independent non-profit since 1999.

The Society oversees many empowering projects spanning different areas such as agriculture, education, fair-trade production, health care, human rights, micro-credits, training and sanitation. The goals of these projects are to improve self-sufficiency for people in the area.

Their handicraft program has been around since the Society began, and was globally recognized as a guaranteed fair-trade organization in the Star Business Report in February of 2016. The elements of fair-trade encompass, “creating opportunities for economically disadvantaged producers, transparency and accountability, no child labor, women’s economic empowerment, and freedom of association.”

The program uses local materials and employs around 250 people, both women and men. They have 168 permanent producers with additional temporary producers, totaling nearly 200. Processes of the handicraft program include dying, embroidery, sewing, weaving, and designing. All of the fabric is 100 percent organic cotton. Some of the products the Society creates for sale include fabrics, bedding, pillows, wall hanging, scarves, bags, and clothing. Creations produced by the Thanapara Swallows Development Society can be purchased at their showroom in the village but also through companies abroad.

The garments are predominately exported and sold in Japan and many countries across Europe. The Society has many well-known customers including People Tree, a U.K. “fair-trade pioneer” within the fashion industry featured in the 2015 documentary film True Cost, which shows the commonly unseen aspects of the fashion industry on people and environments around the world.

Through buying fair-trade items, consumers have the ability to fight global poverty through their regular purchases. Efforts, such as those of The Thanapara Swallows Development Society, allow consumers to gain the power to improve the lives of others.

Shannon Elder

Photo: Flickr

Fast Fashion
The fashion industry used to be “four seasons in a year; now it may be up to 11, 15 or more.” This phenomenon is resulting in “fast fashion.” Currently valued at $1.2 trillion, with more than $250 billion spent in the U.S. alone, the fashion industry has exploded as increased wages have increased demand. With this overload in consumption, there is inevitably much waste which damages the environment and exploits poor workers.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 15.1 million tons of textile were created in 2013. More than three out of every four garments has been incinerated or put in landfills. Traditionally, the U.S. has tried to reduce waste by selling used clothing to countries such as Pakistan, India, and Russia. With the strong dollar and increasing availability of cheap clothing from Asia, however, demand for secondhand clothing has decreased. As a result,  large amounts of waste needed to be taken care of.

The fast fashion industry also imposes an immense burden on the environment. The industry produces “10 [percent] of global carbon emissions and remains the second largest industrial polluter, second only to oil.” Producers consume nearly 70 million barrels of oil a year in just the production of polyester fiber and dump 1.7 million tons of dyeing chemicals into the environment. The industry also goes through an estimated 1.5 to 2.4 trillion gallons of fresh water a year, polluting much of it and damaging both human health and the environment.

While recent progress has created worker empowerment, the use of cheap labor in the fashion industry has been marred by tragedy. In 2013, a garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people. Like other countries experiencing immense poverty, Bangladesh would “see its economy collapse” without the textiles industry. Brands such as Gap, Adidas and H&M have also been criticized for using child labor, paying wages of 50 cents per hour and demanding 10-hour shifts. With other options only as good as intensive agricultural work, many uneducated women find these abusive jobs as their best options. Workers also have had very little leverage in negotiating their working terms and so have less job security.

As all these issues continue to be exposed, however, progress will continue to be made. Since the factory collapse, registered trade unions in Bangladesh have increased from three to 120 and wages nearly doubled. As consumers have grown warier, smaller brands have emerged to promote the “slow fashion movement,” where people shop for quality over quantity and buy products made of sustainable materials. Larger brands have also sought change. H&M and Patagonia launched trade-back programs where customers can send in unwanted clothing that will be recycled and sold again. Nike has also worked to eliminate child labor and improve working conditions.

Although it is always great to see businesses take the initiative in improving the fast fashion industry, the ultimate dictator of change is the customer. Customers are the deciding factor in what companies produce. If the purchasing culture changes to one where customers primarily value how companies have treated its workers and the environment, then the necessary change will follow.

Henry Gao

Photo: Flickr

Five Fair Trade Facts
It’s likely many casual coffee drinkers would never notice a small, rectangular symbol on the bag of their favorite morning java. At first thought, the phrase “Fair Trade” conjures up an image of two individuals shaking hands and smiling after exchanging their products: a sign of mutual respect and goodwill. But what makes Fair Trade “fair?” Here are some quick Fair Trade facts:

  1. Fair Trade is a business model based on equality and economic justice with a focus on connecting consumers to producers by ensuring a consumer’s “day-to-day purchases can improve an entire community” of producers’ “day-to-day lives,” according to Fair Trade USA. This is done by ensuring producers are treated fairly at all intersections of the trading process.
  2. The Fair Trade model was inspired by the cooperative model, a business model which attempts to build up communities by keeping capital within the community which created it. This results in sustainable businesses which promote access to education and improved health for their communities as a market-based solution to poverty.
  3. Businesses are certified as Fair Trade through internationally-recognized certification organizations, such as Fair Trade USA and Fair Trade International, who audit supply chains and ensure transparency and traceability of materials. This guarantees exploitative practices such as forced labor or child slavery are minimized. Consumers can usually recognize Fair Trade products by the certifying organization’s label on the packaging.
  4. Fair Trade products can be found in almost every sector of the economy, from clothing and coffee to flowers and beauty products. Websites like The Good Trade help consumers locate products embodying Fair Trade ethics, while organizations such as The Human Thread advocate for companies to ensure their supply chains use Fair Trade standards.
  5. According to 2013 figures from Fair Trade International, there was a total of 30,000 Fair Trade International certified products being sold worldwide, with a retail sales total of 5.5 billion Euros, a growth of 15 percent  from the previous year.

These Fair Trade facts should serve as a general guide for those unfamiliar with the concept. The Fair Trade movement is important because it connects consumers to the production process in a world where economies of scale and an open world market limit contact. Producers create products to earn a living, but consumers can choose the products they purchase. This gives consumers the power to, as Fair Trade USA describes it, “vote” with their money on products which embody their own values. A vote for a non-Fair Trade certified product doesn’t necessarily mean a vote for exploitation and inequity, but a vote for a Fair Trade product knowing all the Fair Trade facts is a vote for a system which promotes transparency and economic justice.

Lucas Woodling

Photo: Flickr

Protecting the Coffee Farmers
The exponential rise in demand for coffee has led to insuperable pressure on coffee farmers all over the world. The 22 percent decrease in global coffee exports has adversely impacted the supply of coffee as climate change patterns continue to debilitate.

The major cause of the decrease in supply lies in the rapidly rising global temperatures. This temperature spike has culminated in poor yields as the coffee plants thrive on more moist and cooler conditions for flowering and fruiting. If not, the crop becomes more vulnerable to the combined effects of pests and various diseases.

Consequently, a large proportion of coffee growers in developing economies in African countries, Brazil, Colombia and India are smallholder farmers. Protecting coffee farmers is especially essential because they do not have the means to support and adapt to the changes in the market, especially during the concurrent price volatility for coffee. There are around 120 million individuals who rely on this produce for their livelihoods.

A recent report consolidated by Australia’s Climate Change Institute highlighted that by the year 2050, 50 percent of the land dedicated to growing coffee would shrink. This will lead to negative impacts on yields.

Protecting the coffee farmers is vital to ensure continued production of coffee to meet the increasing demand. Using sustainable practices and approaches will be instrumental in achieving this goal, along with carefully monitoring supply chains. Many organizations have therefore recognized the need of addressing this key objective.

The 15-year collaborative effort that Conservation International has embarked on with Starbucks, with the establishment of the CAFE (Coffee and Farmer Equity) practices program, has been a pillar of strength to coffee growers. Moreover, the concept of Ethical Sourcing has brought about the inception of the components: Quality, Social Responsibility, Economic Accountability and Environmental leadership. These initiatives will ensure that coffee growers have an efficient way of sustaining their produce every year.

The Smart Coffee ID Card has also helped in protecting the coffee farmers in Colombia. Through this scheme, farmers get a chance to make payments effectively. Digitizing payments has been proved to stimulate more financial and social inclusion within communities to help combat poverty, as accentuated by the U.N. led coalition, Better Than Cash Alliance.

Fortunately, this channel is now also being used for the provision of government subsidies and incentives. From 2007- 2014 alone, a record 5.4 million payments were made.

Moreover, the Kagera Co-operative is also protecting coffee farmers. It has a widespread influence in Tanzania and reaches out to 60,000 smallholder farmers who aspire to sell their products on the fair trade market. Fair trade Coffee Cooperatives have a massive outreach with a renowned reputation for alleviating trading and price restrictions, along with granting workers considerable autonomy.

Overall, protecting coffee farmers effectively can be achieved by the concerted efforts of the coffee farmers, governments, local charities and international organizations so that coffee farmers continue to have an outlet for their produce and can earn high returns. Collaboration in this manner will pave the way for a sustainable future, where conservation, farming practices and livelihoods are all safeguarded.

Shivani Ekkanath

Photo: Flickr

A new company in Ethiopia is revolutionizing the way people make and sell shoes. SoleRebels, founded in 2004 by Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, crafts traditional Ethiopian footwear.

The company also provides employment opportunities for impoverished people within the local community and abroad. Alemu’s goal in starting such an enterprise was to help kickstart Ethiopia’s economy by creating well-paid and sustainable work.

In addition, the company ensures that all of its employees have access to on-site medical checkups and transportation. Africa-Middle East projects that the company will earn over $10 million in revenue this year. SoleRebels will also sell their wares internationally. The shoes will sell in flagship stores and in partnered organizations such as Whole Foods and Urban Outfitters.

Alemu decided to start SoleRebels when she noticed the poor living conditions of artists in her local neighborhood. It all began with nothing more than half-dozen of those struggling artists crafting shoes in a small workshop. However, she quickly expanded her enterprise.

In an interview with Wharton, Alemu said, “We aimed from day one to create, grow and control a world-class footwear brand right from our community that would create ever more jobs and growing prosperity for the workers, and to do this by leveraging the artisan skills of the community and the natural resources of the nation.”

SoleRebels currently remains the only Fair Trade certified footwear company on the market today. This means that they have undergone a rigorous auditing process to determine that all of their products are made in accordance with sustainable working conditions and environmental practices.

In the future, Alemu hopes to expand upon SoleRebels’s mission by building a full scale production facility. However, she assured Wharton, this will not change the organization’s artisan-driven model, which she cites as key to the company’s success.

She explained, “This model will not simply forever end aid dependency, but it will allow Africa to compete in the global marketplace of ideas on our own terms, and at full value for those ideas. And once we do that, then the images associated with Africa will be forever changed in a way that is real and meaningful and tangible.”

Sabrina Santos

Photo: SoleRebels

free trade productsAlaffia is committed to empowering communities in Togo, West Africa through the marketing of its fair trade products. The company was founded by Olowo-n’djo Tchala who grew up in Togo and came to the U.S. after meeting a Peace Corps volunteer.

Alaffia’s Empowerment Projects are funded through the marketing of its fair trade products. The company believes that African products should be available at a fair price and contribute to a sustainable future.

Their Empowerment Projects include “several Education-Based Projects, Maternal Health, FGM [female genital mutilation] Eradication, Eyeglasses and Reforestation. All of Alaffia’s projects empower Togolese communities to provide their skills and knowledge to the rest of the world and rise out of poverty.”

Education Projects

Proceeds are dedicated to projects which help get children to school and keep them there. So far, Alaffia has constructed 10 schools, helped 23,700 children get school supplies and built 1,855 benches for children to sit on at school. One of the most important projects the company participates in is supplying children with bicycles to ride to school.

To date, Alaffia has provided 7,100 bikes for children to attend school. According to the company’s website, “95 percent of Bicycles For Education recipients graduate secondary school.”

Maternal Health and FGM Eradication

Alaffia helps protect mothers and babies by funding prenatal care and clinics. The funds raised from sales of products goes to help fund over 3,500 births to date. Profits are also used to build women’s clinics in Togo, which help to fight against Female Genital Mutilation.

Reforestation and Eyeglass Collection

The company has planted 53,125 trees and invests in alternative fuels. The Alaffia team also collects eyeglasses and has distributed 14,200 pairs to those in need.

Fair Trade

Alaffia defines fair trade as a “movement of individuals and organizations working to ensure producers in economically disadvantaged countries receive a greater percentage of the price paid by consumers.” To that end, the company pays 15-25 percent more than the fair price for the shea nuts that are used to make its products.

In addition, Alaffia employees make four times what most in the area do and get full benefits. Not surprisingly, the company’s production costs and overheads are higher than other shea manufacturers, but Tchala will not compromise.

Alaffia sells fair trade products certified through Fair for Life: Social & Fair Trade. The Fair for Life website states that the organization “offers operators of socially responsible projects a solution for brand neutral third party inspection and certification in initial production, manufacturing and trading.

It combines strict social and fair trade standards with adaptability to local conditions. The system is designed for both food and non-food commodities such as cosmetics, textiles or tourist services.

Rhonda Marrone

Photo: Flickr

Ecuador is home to over 14 million people and an estimated 18 percent are involved in the banana trade or business. Banana sales comprise over 60 percent of the country’s GDP and Ecuador supplies almost 40 percent of the world’s bananas. These numbers help explain and prove the prevalence of non-fair trade companies.

According to TransFair USA, basic necessities for banana farmers cost $9.60 per day. This is in contrast with non-fair trade wages that can be as low as $3 daily. This has caused an influx of unlawful child labor violations, working conditions and extended hours. The Human Rights Watch has accused non-fair trade companies of employing children as young as 8 years old.

The international farming advocacy organization, Food Empowerment Project, states, “banana producers and distributors Dole, Del Monte and Chiquita have all refused to take responsibility for the conditions on plantations from which they source their product.”

These conditions have caused small-scale farmers to seek fair trade methods to help better provide for their families. For example, the El Guabo Association of Small Banana Producers cooperative started in 1998 when 14 farmers decided to take their chances by bringing a single container of bananas, totaling almost 40,000 pounds and selling directly to a European market. Their goals were to cut out all the intermediaries and deal directly with domestic and international markets.

The success of this collective business model has provided an alternative model of farming tactics and has lead other companies to adopt similar practices. International fruit companies such as Dole, Del Monte and Chiquita have sought business in other countries due to the mounting political support in Ecuador for farmers and small business. These prevailing attitudes create an environment of conditions where a fair trade sustainable fruit seller, like All Good Fairtrade (AGF), can thrive.

AGF is a banana company located in the Southwest of the country. The organization utilizes purely organic fertilizer and has banned the usage of over 100 agrochemicals typically used in mass fruit production. Furthermore, AGF is also able to pay their workers wages that are approximately $3 more per day than the average banana industry worker. The organization is supplied by over 400 Ecuadorian family farms in 15 communities, all of which are a part of the El Guabo Association of Small Banana Producers.

For each bunch of bananas sold, AGF delivers seven to ten cents back to the El Guabo collective for fair e-trade premium funding. In the five years of the company’s existence, AGF has given back over $600,000. As a community, the families vote democratically on how and where to allocate these funds. So far, the capital has been invested toward building a free medical center and a special needs school, supporting multitudes of school children and implementing various sustainable farming initiatives. Education and school supplies are also awarded to the children of the El Guabo collective.

The Borgen Project

Sources: CS Monitor, Food is Power, Green America
Photo: Food is Power

Scottish co-operative Bala Sport, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of Pakistani factory workers, has launched a crowdfunding campaign aimed at importing thousands of fair trade footballs from the Pakistani city of Sialkot.

The campaign has raised over $120,000 from donors, who in turn earn membership to Bala Sport and stakes in the organization’s future. The organization works primarily with manufacturers in Sialkot, which accounts for 70 percent of the world’s hand-stitched football production. The ball-making industry’s 40,000 laborers produce tens of millions of footballs every year for corporations like Adidas, which provides the official balls of the quadrennial FIFA World Cup.

For those working in Sialkot’s ball-making industry, labor has historically been characterized by low pay (workers earn an average annual wage of $1,100) and subpar working conditions. In 2006, Nike terminated a deal with local ball manufacturer Saga Sports over concerns of “significant labour compliance violations,” which included the alleged utilization of child labor and which were often found in cases where manufacturers had outsourced jobs to Pakistani households.

According to Bala Sport co-founder Angus Coull, the difference between fair trade-certified and traditional Sialkot factories is stark.

“We visited four factories producing balls under fair trade agreements. You could see that they had fire escapes, fire extinguishers, health and safety notices, proper ventilation and everything you’d expect to find in a U.K. factory. The workers had face masks and eye protection,” Coull said of his visit to Sialkot in 2014. “But when we went to another factory there was nothing like that. It was underground in the basement of a building, and the only ventilation was from holes in the ceiling.”

While current investors include schools in the Scottish cities of Paisley, Renfewshire and Irvine, the lack of a major retail distribution deal has been a setback for the organization’s distribution goals. Though certain fair trade products like sugar, coffee and tea have become popular among Western consumers, fair trade footballs have yet to gain similar traction.

“The biggest problem we’ve had has been price. If you have a big chain selling two balls for [$10.91], we’re not going to try to compete with that, because the people who suffer are the men and women who make the balls,” Coull added. “They’re after a Nike or a Mitre ball, and the shop staff doesn’t have the time to explain to them what a fair trade ball is all about.”

Suppliers of fair trade-certified footballs sold in the U.K. guarantee that laborers are paid a fair wage and experience fair working conditions. Bala Sport also pays a 10 percent premium on manufacturing costs, which goes to community development projects, healthcare and educational training for workers and their families.

According to Coull, however, the crowdfunding campaign (being hosted on is giving the organization hope for growth without resorting to large-scale private investors.

“We don’t want to have a handful of fat cats who get to control the shots,” he said.

If fair trade campaigns like that of Bala Sport realize financial success, organizations will continue to be able to improve working conditions in poor and developing regions. As working conditions in these areas become safer and stronger for laborers, the economic argument for companies outsourcing American jobs will be weakened, thus benefitting American workers and the American economy as a whole.

Zach VeShancey

Sources: The Guardian 1, The Guardian 2, Bala Fairtrade Sports Balls
Photo: The News