Alternatives to Average Gifts this Season

coffee-1711431_960_720How transparent are the companies and brands we support?

Think about the average gift we give during the holidays. We often do not know who make it, what materials have gone into it, or the methods behind its production.

What are the conditions for the workers creating these products? Did they receive a fair wage? How are the production methods impacting the environment? These are especially important questions during this season of giving and compassion.

Fair trade provides answers to the questions about wages, production methods, working conditions, and more. Transparency is one of the nine fair trade principles, and a cornerstone of 360° fair trade. Fair trade relationships are based upon direct and open communication in both directions between customers and artisans & farmers.

As you may know, this is often not the case with average gifts and brands. They lack transparency. So we’ve provided alternatives below for the average gifts in our lives— along with a few more questions to keep us thinking.

(To find more information about the products featured in the photos, visit our Fair Trade Holiday Gift Guide).

Clothing

clothing

Are women and children in other countries paying the price for our fashion choices? Fast fashion – low quality, low price, trendy retail – is putting pressure on international supply chains. Workers down the supply chain bear the weight of the fast turnaround and low prices. They are often exposed to poor safety and health standards and receive low wages. Not to mention, the impact of the amount of clothing that is being thrown out on the environment.

By shopping fair trade clothing and accessories, you will find transparent options that ensure good working conditions, fair wages, and more. Join us and be a part of the fashion revolution.

Home Goods

homegoods

Indigenous weavers in Guatemala are fighting to protect their cultural and intellectual property rights from misuse by both national and multinational companies. We need to ask ourselves: are the cultural practices of workers being abused in the production of our home goods and accessories?  Fair trade organizations work hard to maintain open dialogue with artisans and strive to protect their cultural traditions.

We should think twice about what companies and products we are supporting and displaying.  Our homes can reflect our respect for culture and the environment. For ideas, check out fair trade home goods in our Fair Trade Holiday Gift Guide.

Toys

toys

Are the toys given to our children produced with exploited labor, workers forced to work long hours with low pay? By purchasing from fair trade companies, we can ensure that the artisans creating our toys are treated with respect.

Let’s set an example of respect for others this year. Browse the section of our Gift Guide for Kids and Fun to find additional fair trade companies.

For more information on FTF companies’ commitments to 360° fair trade, visit http://www.fairtradefederation.org/fair-trade-federation-principles/.

Rachel-L-SpenceRachel L. Spence (rs@fairtradefederation.org) is the Fair Trade Federation’s Engagement Manager, responsible for communications, public engagement, and advocacy for fair trade principles and practices.

 

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