Better Together: We Are SO Connected!
As the new owner of Didi Bahini, I returned from Nepal excited to share about my trip. I wanted to tell you about the products and encourage sales so that I could support my partners in Nepal by selling more.
Then CoViD-19 spread across the planet and selling just doesn’t seem right.
But telling you about Fair Trade and the difference it makes seems *very* right. This virus is showing us just how connected we are, and the concept of Fair Trade is based on that connection and the belief that we are all important parts of the whole.
Fair Trade Federation is an association of organizations that seek to do trade differently. It defines Fair Trade this way:
Fair trade is an approach to business and to development based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks to create greater equity in the international trading system.
The Federation requires that businesses ensure that the well-being of artisans and producers is of critical importance in decision-making. Here are the Principles of Fair Trade members are committed to:
Create Opportunities for economically and socially marginalized farmers and artisans. Fair trade is a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development achieved through long-term trading partnerships.
Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationships with artisans and farmers to ensure that relationships are open, fair, consistent, and respectful.
Build Capacity of farmers, artisans, and their communities. FTF members invest time and resources to help producers build their businesses and create sustainable supply chains.
Promote Fair Trade by raising awareness about fair trade, educating customers and producers, and inspiring other businesses to adopt fair trade practices.
Pay Promptly and Fairly by discussing costs and pricing openly and honestly so that producers are able to earn a fair wage.
Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions that are free of discrimination and forced labor. Healthy workplaces empower producers to participate in decision-making.
Cultivate Environmental Stewardship by encouraging responsible use of resources and eco-friendly production. FTF members reduce, reuse, reclaim, and recycle materials whenever possible.
Ensure the Rights of Children by never using exploitative child labor. FTF members support children’s right to security, education, and play and respect the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Respect the Cultural Identity of the farmers and artisans and celebrate diversity. Fair trade products and production methods respect the traditions of the local communities.
Didi Bahini is a member of the Federation and we strive to abide by these principles.
For me, it’s about basic humanity. I want my life to have the joy, well-being and self-respect that comes from financial stability, and I want this for everyone else. A way to foster this financial stability is to support Fair Trade.
It’s the ultimate in giving a hand up instead of a handout.
These are unprecedented times of financial challenge and uncertainty. It’s difficult for us in North America but for many in the developing world, it’s worse because there is less infrastructure and fewer supports.
I am not going to ask you to buy a scarf or a necklace from me right now, but I would like to ask that when you do make purchases during this pandemic, give some thought to the end-producers. Seek out Fair Trade groceries like coffee and chocolate (no doubt you’re buying chocolate!!). Buy gifts that come from suppliers who give priority to the artisans.
And, when this thing is over, continue to buy Fair Trade…because we are all connected and now we can see it more than ever!
Stay safe. Be well.
Great article Margaret, thanks for sharing and hope you’re doing well!
Beautiful words and intention! I will keep the beautiful Nepalese in my heart always. We have the grand opportunity now to really shift how we support and do business. It is a personal choice. This pause gives us a chance to make many changes in how we think and take action. Fair trade will be high on my list! Love to all. Thank you Margaret for bringing your beautiful self to this work.