We never really think about where our food, clothes, and goods come from. The truth is, most of our stuff is made by children, slaves, or by people working in the most dangerous working conditions in the world.
Check out this Metiza article to learn what child labor is and why simply creating legislation against it will not benefit anyone. However, Fair Trade organizations use ethical and sustainable means to support their workers and the environment.
Fair Trade is a third party organization that categorizes goods as “fair trade” if they have fair wages for their workers, humane working conditions, and better terms of trade.
Here are just a few fair trade products that support companies that do things right and a few companies to avoid.
This chocolate is absolutely delicious. And it’s got the added bonus of leaving you feeling guilt-free. The cocoa industry is even worse than the fashion industry at times. Manufactured primarily in Africa, the cocoa industry has one of the highest rates of child labor, deforestation, and the worst working conditions.
Divine chocolate is co-owned by the farmers in Ghana who make the chocolate. They have a say in the company and a fair share of the profits. Divine then funnels the money back into female empowerment programs and education in Africa.
People Tree Clothes:
People Tree is an organization that produces fashion that is ethically and environmentally sustainable. “Fast fashion” is the term given to the fashion industry and the constant demand for cheap clothes and accessories. That demand has a devastating environment, ethical, and ecological impact.
People Tree uses environmentally sustainable practices in making their goods and local farmers and workers who are paid a fair wage and have good working conditions. You can even see where everything is being grown or put together. They have pictures, descriptions, and testimonials from the farmers and workers themselves.
Coffee is a constant in almost every college student’s life. Basically what we live and breathe – so why not buy coffee and make a difference at the same time.
CafeDirect pours 50% of their profits into Producers Direct, a UK based charity that helps farmers to improve sustainability efforts and creates better working conditions.
These are only some of the most popular brands and goods that we, as consumers, use on a daily basis. These three industries cause the most damage, but there are many goods you can switch out for fair trade products.
Even companies like Patagonia and Athleta are Fair Trade. Go to the Fair Trade Shopping Guide to check out where to buy some popular items.
Nestle is one of the top companies that abuse children for their products. The Dark Side of Chocolate is a documentary that highlights what really goes into making the chocolate we love so much and specifically Nestle’s unethical practices.
Fast fashion companies are also guilty of child labor or terrible working conditions. Stores like Forever 21, H&M, PacSun, etc. need to use their unethical practices to continue producing their clothes at such a fast pace.
Yes, fair trade items are more expensive than the fast fashion or cheaper goods we are used to. But it’s a price anyone should be willing to pay if it means promoting a change that will benefit the lives of local workers in third countries.0