Cyber Monday? Meet Fair Trade Tuesday!

November 30, 2010 at 2:12 pm Leave a comment

I hope you scored some deals shopping Cyber Monday yesterday.  Some of your purchases may supported a cause too. Well, I am now declaring today Fair Trade Tuesday.  With Fair Trade your shopping dollars have great impact not just for you but also for somone in need.  Why? Because Fair Trade is dedicated to developing sustainable economic opportunities for people in impoverished areas around the world. Fair Trade facilitators work to preserve native skills, teach new skills, and provide access to the infrastructure and capital needed to help local tradespeople and farmers thrive and grow.  Fair Trade efforts are committed to the environment and fair labor practices. 

Contrast this approach with cause marketing, in which a percentage of sales (usually of specific items over a specific time period) are donated to a non-profit.  Dollars raised through cause marketing are no doubt welcomed and well-used by the recipient organizations.  Nothing wrong with that. Still, cause marketing is analogous to buying someone a meal while Fair Trade is more like teaching someone to fish (and providing a market to sell the fish at a fair price). In addition to providing sustainable income, Fair Trade delivers the emotional benefits of empowerment and self-reliance.  Here is what Alicia in Bolivia had to say about her experience with a Fair Trade organization:

 “I left my home with my three children because of violence.  But I was lucky because the Sisters of the Good Shepherd  – Las Hermanas del Buen Pastor – took us in.  My children were able to attend a nursery school and I went to work. I already knew how to weave and do some silver work because my mother taught me.  With the sisters I could do higher quality work because they have better knitting needles and looms than I could afford. So my work improved and they paid me for the products I make – so much better than waiting for the tourists all day in the dusty street.   I now have a little money of my own and can buy things that my children need. I feel like a real person. The sisters call our place ‘Levántate’, which means to stand up and be a person. I am doing that.” 

I feel so strongly about the power of women using economic opportunity to improve their circumstances for themselves and their children I  recently joined the Board of HandCrafting Justice to help. So, this holiday season, I ask you to shop Fair Trade vendors such as HandCrafting Justice. Simply by purchasing this really cute purse made of recycled chip bags for the teen, babysitter or friend on your list, you are directly empowering someone who needs help in standing up for herself. So stop by and shop any of the authentic handmade items at HandCrafting Justice and other Fair Trade retailers today. Happy Fair Trade Tuesday!

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Entry filed under: citizenship. Tags: , , , , .

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