The another jennifer blog recently posted an inspiring editorial from Canadian fair trade activist Ingrid Heinrich Pauls. It’s a concise and well-put summary of our goals, so we wanted to share it with you!
Just as many of us began our most intense shopping weeks of the year, news broke about a garment factory fire in Bangladesh. One hundred and twelve workers died because they could not escape. A week later we heard that $3 million worth of knock-offs, including toys stuffed with dog fur, were discovered here in Canada. We were collectively appalled and disgusted. How could our retailers buy products made by people working in such poor conditions? How could they try to sell us products that are potentially dangerous?
Will we just wring our hands, say that something should be done, and then continue making our shopping decisions according to price & brand names?
If we make our consumer decisions based on brand names and price, why would retailers spend time and money on work that is anything but as cheap as possible? Why would they prioritize ethical trade practices and hold people in their chain of production accountable?
Every time we make a purchase we are supporting that retailer and its trade practices. Our outrage alone will not inspire change. Only our consumer decisions have that power.
Fair Trade and Ethical Trade are ineffective if they are only supported in theory – they need sales.
It is possible, even easy, to find great products that were produced ethically. Fair Trade jewelry and personal accessories, clothing, home furnishings, flowers, sports balls, coffee, and food products can be found on-line, at home sales, community events, and in shops across the country.
Christmas really can be about spreading peace on earth and goodwill toward mankind.
Ingrid Heinrichs Pauls
December 6, 2012