When we go to work, we want to be paid fairly. We want to work in a pleasant atmosphere and we want to be treated fairly. We probably also hope that the products we buy are made by people who are paid and treated fairly too. But, do we know where our products come from? Do we know who made them and how that person was treated? We probably don’t really want to buy products that are made by exploited labor. After all, it’s our money. Don’t we have some responsibility to spend it wisely? To make sure that the products we buy support fairness?
In order to help us spend our money more wisely in the New Year, here are ten fair trade resolutions to consider for 2014:
10. Learn more about fair trade. Educate yourself with resources from fair trade organizations: Fair Trade Resource Network, Fair Trade Federation, World Fair Trade Organization, Fair Trade USA, Fairtrade America, Ten Thousand Villages and many more fair trade organizations throughout the USA.
Books on fair trade: No-Nonsense Guide to FAIR TRADE, Fair Trade: a beginner’s guide, Business Unusual: Successes and Challenges of Fair Trade, Artisans and Fair Trade – Crafting Development, The Fair Trade Revolution, Buying into Fair Trade.
9. Do a fair trade audit of your spending. How much of your spending is on fairly traded products? Resolve to spend just a little bit more on fair trade products in the New Year.
8. Consume at least one fair trade product on a regular basis. Coffee is the biggest fair trade product in the world and probably most easily available. If you regularly drink coffee, consider switching to fair trade coffee all of the time. Buy fair trade coffee at your local fair trade retail store or look for a fair trade label on coffees at your local grocery store. If don’t drink coffee, consider fair trade tea. Or, indulge yourself and purchase some fair trade chocolate. Some other fairly traded foods are bananas, dried fruits and wine.
7. Find fair trade retailers in your area for products like clothing, jewelry and personal accessories, home décor, holiday decorations, table top, and games and toys. The Fair Trade Federation and the Fair Trade Resource Network have handy guides to find fair trade retailers near you.
6. Unfortunately, fair trade products have not reached every category of items we purchase nor have they reached every retailer where we shop. If you can’t find a fairly traded product, consider using the Better World Shopper guide.
5. Ask local retailers to consider carrying fair trade products. If enough of us ask for fair trade products more will be stocked on the shelves. Tell them about fair trade organizations like the Fair Trade Federation, the Fair Trade Resource Network, Fair Trade USA and Fairtrade America that can direct them to fair trade products and suppliers.
4. Join a local fair trade campaign or start a new one in your community. Fair Trade Towns, Universities, Congregations and Schools are growing in number across the country.
3. Get more involved in fair trade. Volunteer at a local fair trade store or sale, get a new job at a fair trade organization or retailer, or start a new fair trade organization or fair trade retail store.
2. Become a fair trade ambassador or missionary. Tell your colleagues, friends, relatives about fair trade. Encourage them to spend a larger amount of their spending budget on fair trade products. Introduce them to your favorite fair trade products like coffee or chocolate.
1. Spend a greater amount on fair trade products in 2014. Resolve to add one more fair trade product to your regular shopping list. Maybe you already regularly drink fair trade coffee. Why not add fair trade chocolate to your fair trade spending? Consider allocating a percentage of your gift giving budget to fair trade gifts this year. One idea might be to allocate 10% of your holiday gift-giving budget to fair trade gifts. If you already spend 10% on fair trade gifts, consider upping it to 15 or 20%.
Spending our money on fair trade products gives us the assurance that the products we consume were made by fairly paid and treated workers. We enjoy a fine quality product, and we can be assured that the people who made the product we purchased enjoyed making the product too.
Written by: Doug Dirks, Ten Thousand Villages, Community Relations Director
Doug Dirks has developed relationships with many artisans in developing countries during his more than 20 years of working for Ten Thousand Villages.
Dirks has traveled to many of the 37 countries where Ten Thousand Villages buys products and has met many of the artisans who handcraft the products featured at Ten Thousand Villages. His travels have enabled him to collect many personal artisan stories showing how sales through Ten Thousand Villages have positively affected the lives of artisans, their families and their communities.
If you would like more information on having Doug Dirks, or a representative from your local store, speak at your church, university, club or community, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.