Supporting local farms and businesses is important. When buying locally, we support our neighbors, help the community, and promote environmental conservation. But our community isn’t isolated in a bubble. We are part of a global community that consumes goods and services from every corner of the world. The Fair World Project supports local communities on a global scale. They demonstrate how we can support small-scale local farmers, support their families, and contribute to a healthier world as a whole.
World Fair Trade Day – May 13, 2017
Since 2001, this annual event highlights the people at the core of the fair trade movement. Led by the World Fair Trade Organization and other fair trade movement partners, the event uses the retail space to educate the public on fair trade, and promote the importance of knowing how people all along the supply chain are treated. With knowledge, we can make ethical choices on how we spend our money that can lead to better livelihoods for everyone. This year, over 1,500 retailers in the United States will join together to provide in-store promotions, giveaways, and social media campaigns to show the power we can have as a global community.
Fair Trade is Good for Families
Fair Trade is a partnership that focuses on the exchange of goods based on social justice and economic principles.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dana Geffner, Executive Director of Fair World Project. We talked a lot about different fair trade certification agencies and about how families can get involved today. She said, “Consumer actions play a significant role in the big picture of trade… more and more consumers are saying that it’s important to them to shop with their values, they just don’t necessarily know which brands to trust.”
Part of the World Fair Trade Day focuses on teaching families about the brands and products that are making positive changes globally. Families can vote with their wallet to support these brands and continue their global initiatives. The Fair World Project also publishes For a Better World, a publication dedication to fair trade issues. You can find the current and past issues here: http://fairworldproject.org/resources/for-a-better-world-publication/
This year, a few of the Fair Trade partners include:
- Alter Eco
- Dr. Bronner’s
- Equal Exchange
- Farmer Direct Co-op (largest family owned co-op)
- Guayaki O (teas)
Fair for Farmers & the Soil
Each year the World Fair Trade Day focuses on one specific aspect of the fair trade supply chain. This year, that focus is on soil health and farmers. Last year, the Organic Trade Center released a study’s findings that showed: “organic farming methods could mitigate climate change by sequestering carbon in the soil and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.” With the political debate over climate change and global warming, this is the perfect time to focus on regenerative agriculture practices that can naturally increase soil fertility and help mitigate climate change.
Through organic and regenerative farming methods, small-scale farmers can feed 80% of the world’s people on just a fraction of the land. By using regenerative agriculture practices, small-scale farmers are improving soil quality and helping reverse the trends of climate change.
Dedicated fair trade brands, such as those taking part in our World Fair Trade Day campaign, partner with these small-scale producers on organic development, training, and restoration projects to build a supply chain that is more fair and helps sustain the planet.
Fair Trade in Practice
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, the top-selling brand of natural soaps in North America, is just one of this year’s Fair Trade partners and is committed to creating an equitable supply chain. They source raw materials from fair trade projects around the world that ensure a fair price, living wage and community benefits for farmers, workers, and their families.
While at Expo West, I talked with David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s, and Gero Leson, Director of Special Operations for Dr. Bronner’s.
Gero Leson spends a lot of time in Africa and Asia where he plans and manages the new production facilities for coconut and palm oils. He also oversees operations of Dr. Bronner’s Fair Trade systems and related community development endeavors. The sustainable palm oil used in the Dr. Bronner’s bar soaps comes from a fair trade and organic palm project in Ghana, that Dr. Bronner’s runs. These small-scale farms do not contribute to habitat loss for orangutans or other endangered species in areas of the world where rain forests are indiscriminately destroyed for palm production.
Sustainable Palm Oil
David Bronner talked about how World Fair Trade Day inspires companies to take responsibility for knowing where their supply chain is coming from. He said that companies shouldn’t look for the cheapest ingredient, but place the focus on sustainable development through forming long term relationships partnerships with farming communities. The company, as a whole, is forming these relationships with local communities. Together with the education they receive in regenerative agriculture practices, famers are earning a living wage, boosting soil fertility and yields, while reducing excess atmospheric carbon and placing it back into the soil.
Like many of the Fair Trade partners, Dr. Bronner’s is looking to do the right thing for their farmers, their customers, and as a business.
Find a store near you participating in the World Fair Trade Day in our Store Finder. Go out and support small-scale farmers and their partners!