In celebration of World Fair Trade Day on May 9, we at Rainbow Blossom have come up with some very basic and very compelling reasons to shop fair trade.
1. Fair trade provides a living wage for farmers and artisans around the world.
Why is this important? Because the majority of our fellow humans make less than $1 a day, with which they have to try to purchase food, water, shelter, and medicine for their families. Could you do that?
The farmers of Wholesome Sweeteners, who produce our fair trade, organic and Non-GMO Verified sugars, receive a fair price for their crops, plus a premium that is paid over and above that price. The premium is used for community projects such as improving the water supply, schools, health care, harvesting equipment and community gardens. This allows these farmers to compete against factory farmers, keep and improve their land, and send their kids to school.
2. Fair trade guarantees good working conditions. This means no sweatshops, no unsafe & unhealthy conditions in agricultural fields, and no child labor.
Why is this important? The majority of the world works in dangerous or unhealthy conditions making products for us, including the use of child slave labor in West Africa to produce the cacao for our chocolate (see photo right)!
Cacao farmers in the Dominican Republic, producing cacao for our chocolate bars from Equal Exchange, use their fair trade premium to repair and build schools, and train the adult children of cacao producers in administration so they can eventually take farms over from their parents. With fair trade, kids are in school instead of in the fields or in factories. Isn’t that what we all want for our children?
3. Fair trade ensures that products are produced in a way that is environmentally sustainable, which means using eco-friendly farming practices, making products from natural or recycled materials, and restoring ecosystems.
One great example is Guayakí, which produces our organic, shade-grown yerba mate, a beverage prized by the Aché Guayakí tribe for centuries for its rejuvenating effects. Their mission is to steward and restore 200,000 acres of South American Atlantic rainforest and create over 1000 living wage jobs by 2020!
4. Fair trade provides work with dignity for traditionally-impoverished groups like women, ethnic minorities, and those with disabilities.
Why is this important? Take women for example. They have been shown to be the cornerstone of healthy families and communities in the developing world. When they make money, they are much more likely to use that money for the benefit of their children and family.
Alaffia creates sustainable fair trade skincare products based on shea butter from Togo, West Africa, including lotions, shampoos, and the Everyday Shea & Everyday Coconut product lines. One of their primary goals is empowering women.
One of Alaffia’s empowerment programs is Bicycles for Education, which provides bikes for underprivileged children in Togo so they can attend school. Previously, 91% of Togolese girls were not finishing secondary school. In the area with the bike program, 95% of female students are staying in school. Beautiful!
Alaffia also provides critical health care services to its members. Maternal mortality rates remain alarmingly high in Africa, even as they decrease elsewhere in the world. Every day in West Africa, for example, approximately 225 women and 1,200 newborns die from complications in childbirth. Alaffia’s Maternal Health Program has reached over 3,000 women, with no maternal or child deaths.
5. When you buy fair trade products, you can feel good about your purchases, knowing that people are being paid fairly, they have good working conditions, the environment is being protected, and both children and adults are living lives with dignity.
This photo says it all! Pictured are children of Kenyan coconut growers and processors who produce our Dr. Bronner’s coconut oil.