Sunday, April 3, 2011

Why is This Important?

Hi it's Ginger!
Now that both Caroline and I have talked about some places we've been in town that have Fair Trade items it occurred to me that some people may be wondering why this has any importance whatsoever.
These two images appear on on fair trade items so you know what is or isn't fair trade when you are shopping.

Fair trade is about giving farmers or factory workers or other workers fair wages, safe working conditions, and avoids child labor. 
When you buy that coffee, chocolate, tea, anything really, you are paying someone, somewhere.  
The question is:
How much? 
Under what conditions? 
When buying fair trade products these questions do not need to be asked. Everyone is treated fairly in fair trade environments (hence the name).
A common question is: Do fair trade items cost more than non fair trade items? Not necessarily, when I bought fair trade items in Red Bank the other day I did not notice a vast difference in cost while purchasing. 
This may be surprising to some when I say that companies that are not fair trade sometimes are still extremely expensive. Not because of the supplies they need to make the product, because of the greedy "higher ups" of the company. It's simple really, they take money that the lower workers would be getting and move it into their large bulging paycheck.
Another common question: Why don't the workers that are being mistreated in sweatshops just quit?
My answer to this is that if they quit they will have no money whatsoever. In many cases the worker is getting by on the little amount of income they have for food and shelter and other basic supplies. If there was a factory next door that had a help wanted sign in the window. Then yes, they probably would quit. Unfortunately in many places this is simply not an option. In the slums of many countries there are tons of people looking for a job. If they quit there are plenty of people that are practically lined up to take the job.
The only way to stop this is through the buyers. Us. We can make a difference to these people if we make the effort together. 
If the companies realize that their businesses would grow if they changed the way they are treating their workers, chances are they probably would.

For any other questions e-mail  

Remember to follow our blog!          <3 Ginger

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