5 Fairtrade Products You Should Switch to Right NowFairtrade products are certain items that consumers can buy that comes with a certified seal. This seal ensures that the product was manufactured under quality working conditions, a safe environment and protected human rights. In 2017, 50% of the global population didn’t grow in wealth while the top 1% doubled their wealth. Fairtrade products are a way to ensure that money doesn’t go entirely to corporations and workers can make a liveable wage off of their work. Fairtrade products are often only a few cents more; yet, they can make all the difference when consumers choose to switch to fairtrade products.

Fairtrade During the Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fairtrade partnered with other companies to provide a COVID-19 relief fund. Within two years the partnerships pledged to provide €15 million to Fairtrade’s Producer Relief and Resilience Funds. The money spent on Fairtrade products not only goes to the livelihood of the workers but also helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. The funds will also help small businesses get back on their feet. This will aid with short and long-term relief to Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Most workers make $2 a day for their labor. Buying Fairtrade products will help people across the globe create a sustainable life for themselves. Here are some common products that consumers can buy under Fairtrade:

  1. Chocolate: Coca is one of the most detrimental products to produce with one of the most corrupt industries. Coca often causes “poverty, deforestation, gender inequality, child labor and forced labor.” By choosing to buy brands of Fair Trade chocolate such as Divine Chocolate, consumers will be helping workers obtain a liveable income, better relationships with the companies, receive COVID-19 relief aid and maintain a higher minimum price to protect them from price drops.
  2. Wine: There are more than 50 vineyards that provide Fairtrade wines from Argentina to South Africa. By choosing wines such as Don David Malbec, Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Azana White Blend, Co-op Irresistible Sauvignon Blanc and Cape Original Moscato Rosé, small-scale farmers are able to “join independent trade unions and enter into collective agreements with vineyard owners.” With this, they are able to “invest in social, economic and environmental improvements.” With wine, in particular, Fairtrade also protects the workers against “toxic agrochemicals” that farmers sometimes spray in vineyards.
  3. Coffee: Coffee, along with wine, is a heavily used product. Fairtrade offers coffee farmers trade with a minimum price, terms of trade and Fairtrade Premium. Fairtrade Premium allots the workers with extra money on top of the original price to help their communities. Some of the Fairtrade coffee brands include Cafédirect, Equal Exchange and Higher Ground Roasters. Starbuck also provides Fairtrade products.
  4. Ice Cream: There are many Fairtrade ice cream brands, and many consumers are already eating them. Ben and Jerry’s focuses its business around fair trade products. The company uses all fair trade ingredients, which mostly include cocoa and coffee. Their contribution to fair trade provided coca farmers with $1.5 million in premiums. Using the premiums, farmers can improve their agricultural approves and built their community. Fairtrade also states that since its 2010 partnership with Ben and Jerry’s, the “premium funds have benefitted more than 1,400 farmers and their families through the construction of a medical center, libraries, schools and the production of 400 tons of compost!”
  5. Cotton: Almost 26 million tons of cotton are harvested every year, yet the cost of cotton remains low. Cotton causes many environmental issues such as the use of agrochemicals, water use and polluted water. This causes many of the cotton producers to put their fresh water at risk. By buying Fairtrade cotton, consumers can protect the cotton industry’s health and safety. Fairtrade also focuses on “unsafe and unfair labor conditions in cotton processing and textile factories.”

These five products are just a few of the Fairtrade products available. A way to know which products to buy is to look for the Fairtrade seal on the product, which is black with a green and blue figure labeled “Fairtrade.” These products are endorsed by Fairtrade America and more products such as bananas, flowers, sugar, tea, honey and vegetables are provided in Fairtrade. With fair trade products that promote sustainable products as well as sustainable living, agricultural workers can improve their living conditions and wages, and ultimately rise out of poverty.

– Maddie Rhodes
Photo: Flickr

chic brandsArtisans living in impoverished communities often do not receive fair compensation for their crafts. This issue is especially prominent if their work is sold in a more economically developed country, due to the nature of the country’s economic power. However, four chic brands are offering local artisans more sustainable job opportunities that provide equitable wages.

4 Chic Brands Giving Opportunities to Local Artisans

  1. Zambeezi. Founded in 2018, Zambeezi is a Zambian company that produces handmade soaps, body balms and lip moisturizers made out of beeswax from bees managed by Zambian beekeepers. According to Zambeezi, farmers and workers in Africa receive minimal compensation for their work, despite their products selling for high prices in more economically developed countries. In order to prevent this continuous cycle, Zambeezi forms partnerships with “entrepreneurs, farmers and beekeepers in Zambia, Africa” to ensure that workers are able to earn a “fair and living wage.” Going beyond fair compensation, Zambeezi allocates a portion of its profits to support local community development projects, such as developing wells and constructing schools.
  2. Gift of Hope. Founded by the Haiti Foundation Against Poverty in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Gift of Hope is an “ethical fashion initiative” looking to break the poverty cycle by creating jobs for more than 70 artisans from Haiti. With a mostly female workforce, the organization pays employees three times the minimum wage to economically empower them to rise out of poverty. The company also works to prevent children from becoming “orphaned by poverty” simply because of the financial struggles of a family. By crafting jewelry, purses, headbands, keychains and more, using recycled and repurposed fabrics and materials, women in Haiti are able to provide income for their families and financially support their children.
  3. Pura Vida. Pura Vida began with two struggling Costa Rican artisans crafting string bracelets and grappling to survive on their earnings from selling only a few bracelets per week. On a visit to Costa Rica, Californians Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman asked the artisans to make 400 bracelets for Thall and Goodman to take back to the United States. The bracelets sold out at a boutique within just a short period. This prompted the start of Pura Vida, a company that now sells millions of these bracelets annually. The bracelets are made by more than 800 previously impoverished artisans located in Costa Rica, China, India and El Salvador. The company provides its employees with a sustainable work environment and a steady income. Pura Vida partners with more than 200 charities worldwide and has donated approximately $3.8 million to charities chosen by consumers.
  4. Hiptipico. Hiptipico provides transparency, fair compensation and “non-factory working conditions” to women living in impoverished, indigenous communities in Guatemala. The company creates partnerships with artisans in Guatemala to craft items from its collection, including bandanas, dog collars, camera straps, laptop cases and handbags. Furthermore, Hiptipico allows artisans to price the items themselves. This ensures that workers receive fair earnings for every crafted piece of work. Additionally, the brand allows female artisans to select their own working hours. The flexibility allows women time for family responsibilities while providing an income. Guatemalan artisans also have the freedom to create their own designs and add a touch of personal flair to their crafts, ensuring products reflect the authenticity of Guatemalan culture.

Supporting Fairtrade

These four chic brands strive to end poverty by providing jobs, safe working conditions and fair wages to impoverished artisans. The brands also preserve the originality of the artisans’ cultures. By creating partnerships with artisans globally, the brands ensure that the artisan is rewarded fairly for their craftsmanship. The four companies provide an income to impoverished families while allowing the artisans time to care for their children. Overall, these brands are bringing the world one step closer to ending poverty.

Lauren Spiers
Photo: Flickr