With World Fair Trade Day behind us, and news that Fair Trade sales are still growing despite the global recession, evidently Fair Trade products are in demand! Fair Trade movements such as Fair Trade Towns, Fair Trade the White House, and Fair Trade Your Home have been growing with success and campaigns have been popping up all over the country. Green America has brought the Fair Trade world a new focus: Fair Trade Your Supermarket! Green America has some hefty partners in this campaign including Fair Trade Federation, Fair Trade Towns, Global Exchange and Fair Trade Resource Network. This sort of teamwork is what Fair Trade is all about!

The idea behind the campaign is that although demand for Fair Trade products is high and continuity growing, many Supermarkets throughout the country do not carry ANY Fair Trade products. This grassroots movements asks consumers and people like you to get involved and help persuade their local Supermarkets to carry Fair Trade certified products. They have an easy link to give suggestions on exactly how you can convince your market to carry Fair Trade items, beginning with taking stock of what they already carry. They have also set up a map showing where campaigns are taking place, tips on what to say and who to talk to, ask you to share your stories and pictures, and provide information on Fair Trade.

This new project is encouraging and it is exciting to see Fair Trade products enter the mainstream stage. Although we mostly support local Co-ops and independent markets, we think bringing Fair Trade to as many consumers as possible is a step in the right direction. The more products available, the more people will buy, and the more we will support fair labor and environmental practices throughout the world. Having supermarkets carry Fair Trade products will allow millions of Americans to support the workers of the world. We are really excited about this campaign and hope it spreads Fair Trade to all the corners of the country. Please, consider getting involved or at least letting others in your community know about the campaign.   Take the stand today and Fair Trade Your Supermarket!

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!

Fair Trade LogoAll we hear is recession, depression, and bankruptcy from everyone’s mouths from the Media, to the President, and just about everyone on the street. Well don’t let all this negativity get you down, because we have some excellent sales news to report!  This month the Fair Trade Resource Network announced that despite a Global Recession, world Fair Trade sales rose 22% in 2008! This is very encouraging data, especially because as many industries downsize and disappear, its great that a conscious industry is growing.

Not only did they announce an overall increase in sales, but for many countries they have seen a huge jump. For instance, Canada’s Fair Trade sales grew 67%, Finland saw an increase of 57%, New Zealand grew a whopping 73%, and Sweden took the top spot with a growth of 75%! Sadly the US Fair Trade sales only grew 10%, but at least there is some growth. Also, Britain who only expanded their sales 43% became the country with the most Fair Trade sales worldwide.

On top of all these wonderful increases, its extremely exciting to announce that several Fair Trade industries are also expanding their sales. This includes the Fair Trade cotton (which of course we at AP use) industry sales grew 94%!!!! It is a grand feeling to know we, and you as loyal supporters, have contributed to such a high level of prosperity. It is a promising figure to see! Cotton is not the only fast progressing Fair Trade product, the sale of Fair Trade tea increased 112% and Fair Trade bananas sales grew 28%.

These figures may seem small or possibly a tad on the boring side, but if you are still reading at this point, I want to express how overwhelmingly encouraging they really are. Because despite other industries going bankrupt, Fair Trade is seeing real increases. Does this mean people around the globe are paying attention to their consumption choices? We certainly hope so!  Information and statistics like these are supportive evidence to the idea of a positive change in our global economy. So if you aren’t a supporter already, please pay attention to what you buy. Because really your power is in your dollar!

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