October is Fair Trade Month, designed to educate others about the importance of fair trade and encourage them to buy fair trade products.
The goal of fair trade is to empower producers in developing countries, advocate for a fair price for their goods, and to establish social and environmental standards for the production of those goods. (Find out more from Wikipedia.)
When we buy products, most of us want to know that our desire for coffee or chocolate or sugar isn’t harming people or the planet. Fair trade is one avenue for helping us make more positive choices.
Here are 7 ways you can support fair trade:
- Buy fair trade products whenever you can. Look for the certified fair trade labels from Transfair USA or Fair Trade Labeling International. Fair trade products can include coffee, chocolate, sugar, rice, tea, bananas, flowers, and many other products (including non-agricultural ones). Transfair USA, Global Exchange and the Fair Trade Federation offer resources on where to buy such products.
- Ask stores, restaurants and any place that sells products like coffee, tea and chocolate to stock fair trade products.
- Educate yourself about issues surrounding fair trade, so that you can make informed choices and share what you’ve learned with others. A few useful resources include:
Fair Trade Resource
- Teach others about fair trade issues. Host film screenings, discussions, parties, tastings and other events. Talk with your friends and neighbors. Contact retailers and legislators. Write letters to the editor. Give presentations at schools and community events. Post to your blog, get a widget for your Facebook page, share with your online communities.
- Introduce fair trade products and issues in your community – at work, your place of worship, school, community groups, etc. Encourage your community groups to become part of Co-op America’s Fair Trade Alliance, or suggest fair trade fundraising for your child’s school.
- Participate in campaigns such as Reverse Trick of Treating or Fair Trade Month to increase awareness about fair trade issues.
- Work to get your town or city declared a fair trade town. Use resources such as those from Transfair USA and Fair Trade Towns USA to help you.
If we stay connected to our deepest values, maintain awareness of the impact of our actions, educate ourselves about positive alternatives, and take steps to make MOGO (Most Good) choices, then we can work to help create a world that’s fair for everyone.