Uncommon Heroes: Your Choice of Fair Trade Can Change the World

It’s hard to acknowledge that despite our current “economic hardships”, here in the U.S. we enjoy a standard of living that’s unheard of tin the rest of the world. How’s this for a bit of perspective:

Worldwide, more than 3 billion people live on less than $2 a day!

We’re all increasingly concerned with what our products contain and how they’re made because of the potential impacts on our own health and the health of the environment, but how often do we make the connection to the farmers, laborers, and factory workers involved in the production process in other parts of the world?

Understanding and supporting the Fair Trade movement is a very real and tangible way to ensure that when we spend our hard earned dollars, we are truly getting the most “bang for the buck”. This short film from the Skoll Foundation offers a great introduction to Fair Trade, and highlights Paul Rice, founder and CEO of Trans Fair USA.

For more information about Fair Trade, check out Trans Fair’s FAQ>>

And look into some of these other sources of Fairly Traded Goods:

  • A Greater Gift – a program of SERRV International, one of the first alternative trade organizations in the world and a founding member of the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT).
  • Bead for Life – Ugandan women craft beautiful beads out of colorful recycled paper, “eradicating poverty one bead at a time.”
  • Fair Trade Federation – a membership association of retailers and importers committed to fair trade principles.
  • Fair Trade Sports – the first sports equipment company in the US. offering fairly traded soccer balls, sports apparel and more.
  • Global Exchange Online Store - shop online with Global Exchange, knowing the products you buy are entirely sweatshop free.
  • Mercado Global – a non-profit fair trade organization that links rural and economically-disadvantaged cooperatives to the U.S. market.
  • Pachamama, World of Artisans – Pachamama works to increase consumer awareness, build equitable producer relationships and bring beautiful fair trade products to the public.
  • Ten Thousand Villages – one of the world’s oldest and largest fair trade organizations, offering jewelry, home décor and gifts.
  • World of Good – Berkeley-based World of Good offers ethically sourced gifts, housewares and accessories.

DID YOU KNOW cotton is considered the world’s “dirtiest” crop because of the industry’s heavy insecticide use?

Cotton is used for so many of our household fabrics that we can make a huge collective environmental impact by starting to choose organic over non-organic forms.

Learn More >>

DID YOU KNOW Media PA was the first Fair Trade Town in the United States?

It’s a fact–and our friend and inspiration Hal Taussig is a key reason for Fair Trade Towns sprouting up wherever we look. Since May 8 is World Fair Trade Day, it seems like a good time to salute Hal for his dedication and to recognize the many people who have taken his passion and ideas and given them life.

Learn More about this Fair Trade Town Innovator>>

When you really start paying attention, you’ll realize that fairly traded products are everywhere. Coffee is one of the easiest fair trade products to buy–and its impacts can be felt all over the world.

Change is a Brewin’ Naturally Fair from GreenTreks Network on Vimeo.

Want to go Beyond Coffee? Here are 5 TIPS TO “FAIR TRADE YOUR  HOME” from the Fair Trade Resource Network:

Some of the best ways to get rid of sweatshop items in your home and to go Fair Trade are as follows:

  • Purchase Fair Trade Coffee, Tea, Sugar, and Cocoa:  When conventionally purchased, these popular food items are often grown in “sweatshops in the fields.”  Buying them Fair Trade Certified™ means that farmers are being paid a fair wage and communities are being supported.
  • Purchase Fair Trade clothes – from t-shirts, to shoes to dresses, there is beautiful Fair Trade clothing from all over the world made by artisans who are paid a living wage.
  • Buy Fair Trade Home goods – plates, tablecloths, and even furniture can be purchased Fair Trade.
  • Buy Fair Trade handicrafts – from vases to sculptures to rugs – Fair Trade artisans produce beautiful crafts. And, when you purchase them from Fair Trade organizations, you know that no child labor or sweatshops were involved.
  • Gift Fair Trade – You can purchase Fair Trade toys for kids, sculptures for adults, and chocolate for everyone on your list.  When you gift Fair Trade, you are giving a high quality product and introducing someone to the value of purchasing Fair Trade every day.

Learn More at Fair Trade Resources Network>>

Learn More at TransFair USA>>

Conscious Coffee Purchases Show How Everyday Decisions Can Have a Global Effect

Everyone likes a good cup of coffee (well, almost everyone: collectively, Americans drink more than 300 million cups a day!), but there’s far more to coffee than the flavor and buzz from ca ffeine. With the livelihood of more than 25 million coffee growers, the stability of communities, and the health of entire ecosystems at stake, we can make a difference with the coffee we drink…

Change is a Brewin’ Intro from GreenTreks Network on Vimeo.

This video offers an introductory look at some of the issues associated with coffee. Stay tuned, there’s much more to come…