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The Global Impact of Buying Fair Trade Products

As the world becomes smaller and more interconnected, it is more important than ever before that we work together as global citizens to ensure that everyone has the ability to earn a fair wage and support themselves and their families. The Fair Trade movement is changing the way that we do business, one person at a time.

 

What is Fair Trade?

According to  www.fairtradecertified.org "Fair Trade is a  global movement  made up of a diverse network of producers, companies, shoppers, advocates, and organizations putting people and planet first."  It is based on the idea that as global citizens, we want what is best for everyone, and that every single product that we have bought has an impact both on the environment and the global economy. Whether it is coffee grown and harvested in Colombia or a necklace made by an artisan in Kenya, everything we buy is connected to the livelihood of another. 

What Are the Benefits of Buying Fair Trade?

 

1. Economic:  This is the most fundamental benefit of the fair trade movement. Everyone has the right to earn a fair wage that will allow them to support themselves, and that will remain consistent regardless of the changing economic picture. People who are able to work and earn a living have higher self-esteem, are intrinsically motivated to improve their lives, and look forward to a future brighter for their children.

 

2. Empowerment.  When people are empowered with the ability to earn a fair wage, the impact on the family structure is generational. Children see their parents working hard to provide for them and allow them to attend school. Those same children learn the value of an education and work hard in school so that they can become responsible, productive adults. The cycle of poverty can be broken in just one generation if people are given the opportunity to do so.

3. Community Impact.  In a collective community, where the benefits to the many outweigh the benefits to the individual, Fair Trade encourages community leaders to work together to decide how to best invest their money for the maximum benefit of all.

4. Environment. Our planet does not have endless resources, and it is up to us to be good stewards of what we have been given. Fair Trade encourages eco-friendly practices such as sustainable farming and fishing, prohibiting the use of harmful chemicals and reducing or eliminating waste in the production of goods.

5. Tradition. As the world becomes increasingly “connected,” many traditional practices are being lost. Where children would, in the past, grow up and learn their parents' traditions and trades, this is no longer the norm. Fair Trade initiatives are encouraging artisans to revive their cultural traditions. These include (but are certainly not limited to) weaving, artisan jewelry making, woodcarving, and other artisan trades.

 

What is My Role in the Fair Trade Movement?

 

We are not alone on this planet. As the old saying goes, “no man is an island.” Everything that we buy has a “footprint,” and as the Earth becomes increasingly stressed in trying to provide for us all, it is our duty to relieve some of that stress. When you are purchasing a product, ask yourself these questions:

  • Where was it produced?
  • How much travel was involved to get it to me?
  • Is this product something that can be purchased locally (thereby reducing the carbon footprint created by shipping)
  • How are the workers treated in the country where this was made? (This information is readily available with just a few clicks of a mouse. Thanks to the internet, ignorance is no longer an excuse.)
  • What is the story behind this (garment, a piece of jewelry, decoration, etc.)?
  • What is the ecological impact of this product? Does it decompose quickly, can it be recycled, is it eco-friendly to produce…
  • How is Amano Artisans a Part of the Fair Trade Movement?

Amano has recently become a member of the Artisan Alliance, an initiative of the Aspen Global Innovators Group at the Aspen Institute. The Artisan Alliance is working to “unlock economic value in the artisan sector” by providing coaching, innovative finance opportunities, and a networking platform that will help artisans develop their talent and provide resources that will allow them to become a significant part of the global market.

All of our products are locally sourced using eco-friendly methods, and produced by hand, meaning that each one is an individual work of art. By shopping at Amano, you are helping to succeed, allowing them to earn a fair wage and support their families.

 As you look to the new year, we encourage you to be mindful of the products that you are purchasing. By purchasing fair trade products, your buying power goes far beyond the value of the product and encourages an artisan to keep creating for years to come. Amano Artisans and our team of artisan partners wish you to prosperous 2019. Thank you for your generous support.