AP PhotosThe snow has melted and you’ve finished your Springcleaning! You can now reward yourself with something new! We certainly have. We are proud to announce that our most popular styles, the Black and White Low-tops and Highs-tops are now offered in Wide sizes! Now everyone can enjoy our classic styles, even if they need a little extra room.

Speaking of new additions, our classic Fair Trade, Eco-Friendly and Vegan Flip Flops are making a triumphant return, now of better quality and a better price! The FSC-certified all natural and sustainably harvested rubber Flip Flops are now available in two exciting colors: Light Blue with green sole and deep Ocean Blue. You can literally putspring in your step and gear up for an ethical and Eco-friendly summer.

To celebrate the return of our Flip Flops and World Fair Trade Day, we are participating in the Fair Trade Bostonsponsored Fair Trade Crawl on May 8th. We have partnered with Ben & Jerry’s on Newbury Street to bring you “Kick Off Your Fair Trade Summer.” Our event is all day and will feature discounts on our Flip Flops, Ben & Jerry’s Fair Trade ice cream flavors, live local music, and information on Fair Trade. If you’re not in Boston, be sure to check for World Fair Trade Day events in your local area.

Be sure you are keeping up to date with all things AP by following us on Twitter and Facebook! Also, please check out our friends at Consumers with a Conscious’ Giveaway. We and the CWAC blog will be giving away a couple of pairs of sneakers and our new flip flops! You will have more chances to win each time you sign up for ours and their Twitter and Facebook!!

Happy Spring,
Your Friendly AP Team

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As Fair Trade and environmentally friendly consumers, we try our best to put our ethics before anything, including our wallets. Ethically made products can be a bit more expensive than conventional items, however, using your money as your voice is incredibly important in this modern economy. Purchasing ethically makes sense to many of us, but it is also essential to set an example for our younger generations. Ethical products are growing day by day and so many amazing items are available. This includes products for all the children out there!

From Fair Trade sports balls to recycled toys and even eco friendly diapers, there is a plethora of ethical children’s items on the market. During the holidays the web was bustling with great socially conscious and earth friendly suggestions for children’s gifts. And even we at Autonomie Project have taken on the Children’s market with our Fair Trade and Organic Children’s Clothing line Little Green Radicals and Ethletic Sneakers. And we aren’t the only ones, many companies provide parents with eco friendly ways to dress their little tykes. 

As ethical consumers we know that these items aren’t cheap but setting an example to the children in our lives is priceless. Whether they be our own, our nephews or nieces, or even our friend’s children, starting them young on smart and conscious choices is incredibly important. It may seem like buying one organic t-shirt or one recycled toy is a minor thing, but setting these examples early in life makes a huge impact. We need to pass these ideas and choices on to our youth so that the next generation can create better products and make even better decisions than our own.

So without sounding too preachy, just please keep this in mind the next time a birthday or Christmas rolls around or even the next time you need to purchase an everyday item for a child. After all living by example is one of the most influential ways for a child to learn and with the risk of sounding cliche, the youth are our future.  So please pass the ethical torch. 

Economists and businesses all across the board are recognizing the immense impact the Fair Trade movement is having in markets across the globe, both in producer and consumer countries.  While not exactly promoting the idea of Fair Trade or ethical economics, Vijay Sarathy, vice-president of consulting firm Charles River Associates, admits on Purchasing.com that larger companies may end up shooting themselves financially if they aren’t willing to accept business models that accomodate higher wages for workers or adhere to environmental standards, such as those outlines in the Kyoto Protocol.  

Such concerns are also echoed in publications like QSRMagazine.com, which outlines and promotes strategies for the “quick-serve restaurant” industry, not exactly the most ethically outstanding segment of the modern economy.  But they recognize, based on market research, that In the U.S., some eight out of ten consumers feel it is ‘important’ or ‘very important’ that companies engage in programs to support the environment and society,”  and that companies risk their consumer base if they fail to recognize peoples’ moral concerns.  However, if one reads on, the article unravels quite a few devious methods the industry has for dealing with such concerns while keeping their strategies and identities (read: bottom lines) secure.  

Coffee Photo By Selma90

Perhaps this kind of dishonesty and double-speak is part of the reason why, even in a heavy recession with an uncertain future, businesses engaged in Fair Trade practices are still showing market growth, albeit somewhat slowed, while gigantic service and manufacturing companies watch their figures plummet.  As Juliet Morris, director of marketing for Just Us! Coffee Roasters, puts it in the blog Interrupcion Fair Trade: “Growth has moderated. But, as one of my friends said, ‘Flat is the new up.”   But for those consumers that are curious about or have already embraced a Fair Trade ethic, the reason for this success is absolutely clear: it makes you feel good to buy and use things that aren’t destructive to people, animals or the environment.  It’s a simple, moral truth.  The violating deceit of large-scale financers and businesses has imbued a healthy skepticism and caution in the public mind, and the result can be seen in the avenues where purchasing power has shifted.

Business Graph Photo By nDevilTV'Amber Chand, a Ugandan refugee who fled from Idi Amin’s dictatorship in the 70’s and came to Massachusetts, operates her own online Fair Trade gift company .  Sited on Jezebel.com, she has no doubt why, during the last holiday season, her business grew an eye-opening 22%.  “People during a downturn start feeling extremely conscious of how they spend their money. And your money is your vote, your dollar is a political statement of where you’re making your choices, so for people coming to the collection, they were deciding to buy a beautiful candle, or a beautiful basket or necklace from the collection because they knew it directly impacted the life of a woman and her family in a region of the world that we would consider extremely vulnerable.”  

Phat Wad, Break me off some Photo By Refracted Moments™'s So as school commences and the holiday season approaches, know that your dollar truly does count in the social and political scheme of things, perhaps most of all, and be encouraged that many others refuse to let economic uncertainty compromise their ethics.  It appears that there is a larger trend in consumer spending to use dollars wisely rather than the cheapest option. We hope this trend continues and blossoms into a full scale consumer revolution! The best way to support this revolution is to spend consciously (something we at AP know a little something about). Besides our humble company, there are plenty of great Fair Trade companies to support in order to meet all your shopping needs.  As loyalty and trust in big name manufacturers meet their timely end, the signs are clear: Fair Trade is the future!

September has arrived, the year begins to wane and the “s” word (school) is on everyone’s lips.  With the new school year come meals to plan and supplies to buy, and it might seem a challenge to make those choices both vegan and environmentally responsible.  But fret not!  Below can be found five interesting and ethical alternatives to the same old options haunting your yearly school routine:

1) Easy Lunches: Perhaps the most practical place to start would be with fuel for the brain, and Jennifer McCann is certainly the one to go to.  Author of the awesome Vegan Lunch Box blog, she has just released her second book, titled Vegan Lunch Box: 130 Amazing, Animal-Free Lunches Kids and Grown-ups Will Love!  A cursory glance at the eats inside is cause for a taste bud riot.  She covers all the bases, from grilled pepperoni sandwiches to quinoa amaranth timbales.  She even discusses issues on being young and eating Vegan and offers pertinent suggestions, such as how to create healthy “look-alike” meals that won’t call too much attention to a more self-conscious child.  Who of any age could say no?

2) Mmmm, Granola Bars: Ok, so the granola bar might be considered a lunch sub-category, but not really; granola bars are special.  They make a fun and tasty addition to any lunch and can also serve as hearty, nutritious snacks throughout the day.  The Swiss Army Knife of the food toolkit.  Enter the Kitchen Sink Granola Bar, found on Kathy Patalsky’s Lunch Box Bunch site.  Her vegan recipe is sensible and well-rounded but leaves room for personal improvisation.  Most importantly, the bars are chock-full of fiber and protein, including steel cut oats, flax seed meal and various nuts and seeds.  It’s also a baking-pan recipe, which means plenty of bars to go around.  Try to make them last more than a day!

3) Hemp Backpacks: If in the market for a new, durable, vegan,  and environmentally responsible book bag, look no further than the Large Hemp Backpack from Pangea’s Vegan Store.  Perhaps the most widely-usable fibrous plant, hemp is easily sustainable and rugged, and Pangea guarantees these packs (and all the products they sell) to be both cruelty-free and produced by workers protected under unions or just labor laws.  The bags have a simple, utilitarian style, come in three colors and are the perfect size for notebooks at 12″x14″.  And at $54.95, they are comparable in price to the larger backpack manufacturers.  What is there to dislike about them?

4) Reusable Lunch Bags: There are quite a few options out there for non-disposable lunch bags out there and you don’t have to sacrifice style. For instance the Bazura Bag, made out of recycled juice boxes in a woman’s co-op in the Philippines.   Or check out the Mimi the Sardine Modern Cloth Bags with fun patterns such as flowers and cars but also made from organic cotton in the USA. Now that you have the bag, don’t forget to purchase re-usable sanwich and snack bags. There are many brands and cute styles to choose from including some made of recycled materials and oragnic cotton.  Best of all, they eliminate the need to purchase daily-disposable plastic or paper lunch bags and are affordable in the event they are lost.

5) Recycled Cardboard Binders: Everything about Greenline Paper Company’s corrugated cardboard binders is just plain cool.  Their simple, raw look and useful design speaks to studiousness and they are claimed to be more resistant to wear and tear than a traditional, toxic vinyl binder.  Should the cardboard be damaged, the metal rings are easily removed and the cover can be recycled and replaced with a new one for less than the price of having to replace a vinyl equivalent.  According to their site, Greenline prides itself on creating paper products that are recycled, tree-free, biodegradable, non-toxic, sustainable, or reusable; the binders are at least 35% post-consumer recycled.  They are also socially responsible, as they are assembled at Northwest Center in Seattle, which provides vocational services to the disabled and disadvantaged through education, training and job opportunities.  Come to school with the feeling of making a positive difference while introducing some funky style!

 

Today, ebay announced the launch of WorldofGood.com a “people positive” and “eco positive” online marketplace featuring hundreds of sellers (including yours truly!) that offer eco-friendly, vegan and Fair Trade goods.  With the power of ebay technology and the eye-soothing marketing and graphics of World of Good, shoppers are now completely empowered to align their values with their purchases and can easily browse through thousands of products with the comfort and confidence that they are shopping in a socially and environmentally responsible manner!

More than just a typical online shopping experience, WorldofGood.com features a very active community site where you can join in-depth discussions on relevant issues, post a blog, or ask that question about being ‘green’ that’s been hanging around the back of your head for so long.

Worldofgood.com also takes corporate transparency to an all new level by bringing shoppers up close and personal to the people behind the products on every single product page!  Not only is every seller required to be verified by an independent “Trust Provider” that ensures a core set of ethical and environmental standards are met, such as Coop America, Aid to Artisans, and B Corp (among many others), but every product features a photo and story about the person who actually made the product.

Each product also comes with an easy to read guide on how that particular purchase is helping the planet.  Called “Goodprint”, this guide lists how each product helps people, the environment, animals or a specific cause by, for example, empowering the producers, using eco-friendly production, or preserving a species.  Shoppers can browse products by the “goodprint” that matters most to them so that they can control exactly what impact their purchase makes.  Shoppers can also weed through the listings by shopping by category, region of the world, price range, or trust provider.

This is an incredibly exciting leap forward for small Fair Trade businesses like ours.  Worldofgood.com is seamlessly linked to ebay.com putting ethical shopping choices in front of ebay’s 84 million active users worldwide!  We encourage you to spread the word, join the fun, check it out, and do a little shopping!

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