I recently had the pleasure of reading about some amazing women who were nominated for our Annual International Women’s Day Award Ceremony. At our award ceremony, we’re honoring only a few of the many, many outstanding women who are advocates of humanitarianism, the environment, and animal welfare. Aside from being awe-inspired (and that is an immense understatement), reading about these women also brought to mind how what they’re doing for others relates to the principles of fair trade we value so much and how these principles are related to each other.
The Fair Trade Coalition refers to fair trade as practices or products that do not harm the earth, animals, or humans. It’s easy to see that humanitarianism, environmentalism, and animal advocacy all tie into each other, and are all integral to the Fair Trade mission.
Humanitarianism’s relationship to the principles of fair trade is probably the most apparent. Rallying for the dignity of human life is at the core of the Fair Trade mission. It’s concerned with and strives to promote the welfare of people everywhere. With fair trade, the primary concern is the welfare of the producers and their communities. A big part of this is supporting fair working conditions to ensure that workers and producers are not exploited in any way, whether from dangerous working conditions or unfair pay. Creating opportunities for workers who otherwise would not have a means to support themselves or their families is another way humanitarianism coincides with fair trade principles.
A good way to think of environmentalism is as environmentally conscious consumerism. Advocates of fair trade encourage the producers they buy from to maximize the use of raw materials and to produce their goods in such a way that it does not harm their environment. This works toward sustainability so that future generations may survive and continue to build better lives. Advocating environmental awareness in regards to fair trade is important because agriculture can play a huge role in the growth of developing countries.
All these categories relate to each other, but environmentalism and animal welfare relate even more closely together. In supporting environmental awareness and in protecting the environment, animals are able to live and prosper, as opposed to dying because of things such as pollution and the destruction of their habitat. Producers also do not cause animals harm to make their fair trade products. We have products in our store that are made from animal bone, but these animals were not killed to make these products. For example, the animal may have been killed for food, but as a means to maximize the use of the animal, the horn, or bone may be used to create something not only useful, but also beautiful.
I invite you to think about the correlation with all of these categories here, and how all the principles of fair trade relate to each other. Just think about how everything is connects, influences, and impacts another, whether it be positive or negative. Just dwell on that for a little bit. Maybe it’s cliched to say that everything you do has the potential for “a butterfly effect,” and how you have the incredible ability to change the world because of this, but I’m starting to see just how true that is. And without getting too tangential, this is why fair trade is important, and why I think it actually does make a difference. You’re changing the world, little by little, by supporting fair trade.