Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Socially Conscious Consuming: The Opps Expand

Co-op America, whose motto is "economic action for a just planet" has published a guide to the expanded offerings in fair trade. FairTrade, the movement to give workers a larger share of the profits of their labors, has moved beyond coffee to include fruit (you can see FairTrade bananas in some supermarkets now), wine, handicrafts, chocolate, and even sporting equipment! See below about soccer balls.* Perhaps FairTrade grasscloth will be added - that would have solved our wallpaper challenge.
There is a bit of tension between the virtues of buying fair trade items, which are shipped from the developing word, and buying local. But truthfully most of what we purchase is not manufactured or produced locally, so going out of one's way to procure Fair Trade garments, food, drink, and even soccer balls is a way for our consuming to have a positive impact on the world. Fair Trade items come at a premium, and the cost differential is going to the producers, helping them to improve their families' and communities' lives. That does seem fair, doesn't it? I think of it as a self-taxing process.
Hats off to Co-op America for providing the results of their research.

Sports balls —
When the European Fair Trade certification body (FLO) created standards for soccer ball production in 2002, it was the first time a non-agricultural commodity had received certification. Since then, five Pakistani and Thai producers have achieived certification, ensuring that no child labor is involved, and that workers receive a living wage in a healthy work environment.


Anonymous said...

Everyone has to consume housing. How come I don't see affordable, green, minimalist, low-carbon housing?

Betsy Teutsch said...

That's a great observation. In pHiladelphia, some of the new low-income housing is energy efficient, which lowers the homeowners' overhead over time, and is very smart.
Living in small quarters automatically lowers one's footprint. I can't take any credit on that score.

Scott James said...

Hey BPT,

Glad you enjoyed the mention on soccer balls! We have the first full line of certified Fair Trade sports balls in the US, which are also certified FSC.

We've got sports balls for soccer, futsal, volleyball, rugby, and (starting in September) football and basketball. When you have a moment, please stop by our blog at www.fairtradesports.com.

- Scott James
Fair Trade Sports
Fair Trade Soccer Balls with FSC Certification!