Why I support the Fair Trade Federation.
When I’ve been on mission trips internationally I’ve talk to artist that make some beautiful things but the problem they all seem to run into is how get the products to a broader audience so most are stuck earning a meager living. Every time I go on a mission trip and see this my mind goes back to the same thought: what if I could bring their products to the United States and use the Internet to sell their products.
By doing this I could exponentially expand their potential reach and move them from substance living to a thriving enterprise that supports multiple families. Ends up I am not alone in those feelings. There are multiple organizations such as Tom’s Shoes and the Fair Trade Federation that are using their resources to make the world better. Today we’re happy to become involved.
The Fair Trade Federation principles are:
- Create opportunities for economically and socially marginalized producers.
- Develop transparent and accountable relationships
- Build capacity
- Promote fair trade
- Pay promptly and fairly
- Support safe and empowering working conditions
- Ensure the rights of children
- Cultivate environmental stewardship
- Respect cultural identity
For a complete list visit the Fair Trade Federation website.
I’ve been on the other side also, working for companies that supplied goods to major retailers such as Walmart. Their goal is to provide the lowest price on all goods and services. That meant moving manufacturing jobs out of the United States to lower wage countries and then paying the absolute lowest wages, giving marginal lip service to safe conditions, children’s rights, the environment and prompt pay. It broke my heart to see not only what our quest to have more and more at a lower and lower price has done to so many families. Walmart became the biggest retailer in the world by giving us what we asked for: more goods at a lower price, even though this has caused hardship for millions of people world-wide. Most other retailers followed. If you doubt my personal experience I’ve included a few links below:
- Workers reveal hellish conditions making goods for US retailers
- Brutal sweatshop in China makes goods for AT&T, Motorola, Walmart and others – Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights.
- Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee (HKCIC) denounced the “hellish” working conditions there, pointing the figure of blame squarely at Hasbro, McDonald’s, Disney and Mattel.
There are plenty more examples but do your own research.
As consumers we have a responsibility to spend our money wisely. When I was younger I did not really think about any of this, but after working for companies that supplied goods to Walmart, K-Mart and Target I’m much more aware of how my purchases can affect others. That is why I’ve decided to start carrying Fair Trade products on Memory Cross. Each product is hand crafted by artists around the world. These are small business owners who treat their employees fairly, do not employ child labor and are concerned about the environment, plus their employees actually enjoy and appreciate working there.
I’ll be sharing their stories periodically on our blog but here is our first story.
If you would like to see what we are presently offering on our website, here is the link.