In the U.S. and Canada, we just recently celebrated Thanksgiving. As you know, it’s a holiday in which we gather with family and say what we are thankful for (and eat a lot). There is so much to be thankful for.
Then, starting on the night of Thanksgiving and really all the next weekend, Black Friday happens. This is a day that many stores have crazy sales that attract crazy people, and some normal ones that are very budget-savvy. I shopped once on Black Friday. I did get a great deal on this very laptop, but I am not brave enough to do it again.
On Black Friday, I got an email from Amnesty International about Fair Trade Friday. I thought this was a great idea. What if, instead of just looking for good deals this holiday season, we only purchase fair trade products? If all those sales on Black Friday mark the time that stores start to make a net profit, think of the impact if multiple people chose this holiday season to start purchasing fair trade. Retailers would notice. Therefore, I am making a shift to buy fair trade whenever possible (as I mentioned in my last post). I hope you are encouraged to do the same. If you are interested in buying fair trade this holiday season, here are ten ways to make the change
1. Watch What You Wear
So many companies that produce clothing do nothing to address or acknowledge the very real existence of slavery and labor abuse
within their supply chains. Since we all need clothes, it is hard to shift through the bad to find clothing you can confidently wear knowing that the purchase did not contribute to human trafficking. Lucky for us, there are two socially responsible ways we can wear clothes
- Buy second hand
Regardless of the brand, buying second hand does not give money to the companies participating in poor labor practices. Also,
there is the added benefit of saving you money. Many thrift stores donate their proceeds to charity. So, buying second hand can do a lot of good
- Buy from responsible brands
Thanks to the Free2Work Apparel Trends Report, we can now know which companies are using slaves in their supply chain, and which are not. There are many fair trade clothing brands, such as Good and Fair and Maggie’s Organics.
2. Picking Produce
In the U.S., tomato workers are still being treated as indentured slaves in some cases. There are cases that have gone through the courts already. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers works with companies to ensure that they are buying fairly-produced produce. Trader Joes and Taco Bell are two examples of retailers who have signed agreements with CIW. Publix is a major grocery store that refuses to agree to their terms. Check out the website for a full list of stores that use fairly produced produce.
Furthermore, a great way to ensure that your produce is fair trade is to buy local. Check your local chamber of commerce for a farmers market near you. (Bonus: They are almost always cheaper than the grocery store, it may be worth a drive.)
3. Sweets, Anyone?
Do you love chocolate? What am I saying, of course you do. Most chocolate brands that are used today have connections to slavery on
the Ivory Coast of Africa. Luckily, many brands are also taking a stand against this. Fair Trade Chocolate is more expensive, but chocolate is a luxury anyways. So, I resolve to buy it less, but when I do buy it, buy fair trade. (Added Bonus: Fair trade chocolate is usually super classy chocolate, so it tastes better than any old Hershey’s bar.) Click here for a list of fair trade chocolate brands
Do you love Starbucks’ holiday drinks? Ask them to adapt them to be made with their fair trade certified Italian Roast. From what I understand, this is their only certified fair trade coffee, but they are very willing to make you a fresh pot or adapt drinks to help you be a responsible consumer. Coffee is another product frequently linked with modern day slavery. Click here for some fair trade coffee choices, if Starbucks isn”t your vice.