World Fair Trade Day is here again! It’s on the calendar for the second Saturday in May annually, this year that makes it the 11th May.
Every year they run a social media hashtag campaign that you can join. For 2019 it’s '#fairtradeinnovates" and ‘#TradeFairLiveFair". How do you feel about this year's hashtags? Are they cause to be agents of change and get people on board?Do they really answer provide you with the place to find your answers to the tricky questions about fair trade? Are they enough to make you switch to Fair Trade products?
Over the last few years Fair Trade has slowly been overlocked as new movements like Ethically Produced, Organic or Vegan Friendly practises have come into play. The rise of alternative production methods like these, combined with the campaigns such as Fashion Revolution or the War on Waste have done fabulous things to bringing these issues into the forefront of consumer minds.
Yet, did you know that these production practises only address a small portion of the ethics behind what’s included in the principles that underpin Fair Trade. Unless you're willing to ask the tough questions that sort the laundry out from the rest, then you have no true way of knowing if a product is really ethical in every way. That’s where Fair Trade comes in. It gives you just that ability. Nevertheless it doesn’t excuse us from continuing to ask questions of supply chains and seeking transparency.
So what questions should you ask? And what do you want to know? The Eco Warrior Princess wrote an article (link) that gives you some great actionable tips and questions to ask. So that is a great starting place.
This month, I’ve turned to our community on Modimade Facebook and asked what they’d like to find out about Fair Trade. If you're new to Fair Trade, it's a great idea to head to my earlier fair trade blog piece to get a quick overview or the WFTO or FTA site has an in depth breakdown of all the info you need to get a clear picture of the 10 principles too. If you’re more a listener you may want to watch my live videos on Facebook from1 May to 10 May, where I explain a daily principle.
Mel asks: Is brand name ok if it’s from the charities or still considered not ok? Very interested to know your thoughts…?
Where in the chain of a garments life does the ‘production ethics’ get washed out? I love op shopping too and completely find value in what they support. In my view to buy from op shops isn't being involved in feeding the production of cheap fast fashion clothing. Such businesses do not profit in any further sale of the goods once it leaves their store. I guess you do have the 'where did you get that question' whenever someone admires an outfit crafted from thrift stores. Really it's an opportunity to be proud that you've extended the life of a garment that initially was only made for one purpose - fast fashion. There's definite value in that.
Chalotte wants to know: How do you get official fair trade certification? Is it expensive? Do you need it to be able to classify yourself as fair trade?
You can use the 10 principles of fair trade to guide your practice however to be certified you need to apply and go through a certification process. There are a few ways to do this. In Australia, you can apply for a Fair Trader of Australia endorsement by the Fair Trade Association. This is the process that I’m starting with Modimade at the moment. Alternatively you can opt for an endorsement with the WFTO. This certification would be internationally recognised and is a better but much more expensive, route for grass routes organisations that trade internationally.
QU #2: It is really interesting to hear from someone who is going through the process. Many people I am sure have ethical trading standards but might not be able to afford the certification, but it is great there are principles that you can research into to be able to apply the to your business. Do you find it easy to access all the information you need?
You're so right, The 10 principles are invaluable for the smaller businesses who simply can't afford the certification process. The majority of our trade partners in Cambodia just don’t have the funds spare to be able to gain the certification as they see more value in passing those funds onto their workers instead, or building upon work place practises. It also allows money to be invested into skill development and training opportunity to ensure they meet the 10 principles of fair trade within their work places.
Lesley is intruiged about: How does working for a fair trade label change your life?
The change in persons life is really seen in all areas governed by the 10 Principles of Fair Trade. Each principle has a direct roll on effect for the person, their family and their community. Workers become active participants in their employment and have the opportunity to ask questions and receive transparent answers. The workplace offers a safer, more productive work/ life balance where a working week doesn’t exceed 48 hours and wages paid should meet the rates of a living wage for that country. You can look up a countries living wage rate here. https://wageindicator.org/salary/living-wage But I think to address this question to it’s fullest and tell all the benefits, it really calls for a blog on it’s own.
Mostly I have found finding the info very easy with the online resources from FTA and WFTO. There is a load of info about this years up coming World Fair Trade Day here: https://wfto.com/fairtradeday2019/
You can join me in showing the love for fair trade, finding a place to learn and leading the way to creating a world of active consumers by joining the Modimade team of supporters by joining our email list. I'll take you to places that you've never been before, visiting each of our trading partners. We'll be looking at how they meet Fair Trade principles in their enterprise and what Fair Trade meanings to them. Hope you can join me with your comments and questions.
If you're the type of person who wants more, I'd love you to learn more and visit https://wfto.com/fairtradeday2019/