Everything you buy has a story story
The coffee beans, your new tote bag, and the facewash you use every morning all come from somewhere and someone. They impact people, communities, and ecosystems. The only question is: will that impact be positive or negative?
When you choose fair trade over conventional trade, you’re buying ethical products that have a positive impact on people’s lives around the world.
The Impact of Conventional Trade
Most of the products you buy are likely “conventional trade.” This means that they are made without much regulation. These products are made quickly, cheaply, and put profits over people.
As The Fair Trade Product describes in this article, conventional trade comes at the cost of many people and communities. Here are just a few of the negative results of conventional trade.
- Low Costs Reign Supreme
Conventional trade prioritizes profits before anything else. Companies that make free/conventional trade products will cut worker wages, ignore unsafe working conditions, and ignore environmental costs.
- Child/Slave Labor
In an effort to reduce costs, large companies will make their products in unregulated markets. This opens up the door for them to use child labor or even slave labor to increase their profits.
- Harmful Effects on the Environment
Free trade prioritizes money over its effects on the globe. Eco-friendly regulations can stymie growth, so companies will move to unregulated markets. Free trade results in higher carbon emissions, environmental disasters like oil spills, and the destruction of natural habitats like the rainforest.
Ethical Shopping and You
The negative effects of conventional/free trade are real, but they aren’t the only option. Shopping fair trade means you’re buying power has a positive impact on people, communities, and the environment. In short, it means you’re making ethical purchases. But what makes a product ethical?
- A Global and Ethical Mindset
Fair trade products are made with other people, communities, and the environment in mind. Fair trade companies make decisions that improve the lives of the communities and artisans making their products instead of putting profit before people.
- Empowering Artisans
One of the best parts of fair trade products is that they empower the people who make them. A major goal of fair trade is alleviating poverty. This is accomplished by putting the money directly in the hands of the people and communities responsible for making them.
- Ethical Working Conditions
To be fair trade, a product must meet strict regulations regarding working conditions, workers’ rights, and fair wages. Any fair trade product you buy goes towards a more just world.
- Improving the Environment
As this article from Fair Trade International points out, fair trade has a positive impact on the environment. Measures are taken in creating fair trade products to reduce carbon emissions, improve natural habitats, and organize farmers towards working in harmony with the ecosystem.
Want to Find Ethical Products? Look for the Fair Trade Logo!
Just like anyone else, you want your purchasing power to go towards a more fair, just, and equitable world. The good news is it’s easy to do! All you need to do is look for this logo the next time you’re at the store: