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17-08-2010
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I dug up one thread (a very old one) and merged it with this one. But, other than that, I couldn't find any threads about Fair Trade.

Hopefully we can get a dialog going about this important topic.

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17-08-2010
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aha! I found the thread you were looking for ... The Ethical Consumer Movement and it's been merged here, too. Not so much about handcrafted items ... but about the idea of Fair Trade in general.

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Last edited by BetteT; 17-08-2010 at 02:45 PM.
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17-08-2010
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Thanks so much BetteT!!! I was looking for a thread like this but I couldn't find one but it looks like you were able too.
I would be interested in seeing what other brands are new since the last time this was posted (in 2008), also if you think that fair trade has changed since then?


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18-08-2010
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i don't know whether this has been posted, but i find this danish company to be pretty good http://www.noir-illuminati2.com/

being eco-friendly with fair trade and all these w/o looking vegan.

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18-08-2010
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I found this to be interesting so I did some googling and found that "fair trade" is not organic in nature but one of the goals is sustainability. It's more about helping people in developing countries to be able to sell some of thier produce in the world market. It refers to food products as much as anything. However, cotton and handicrafts are two items of note, that are related to the fashion industry.

From Wikipedia:
Quote:
Fair trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries obtain better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as social and environmental standards. It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, chocolate, flowers and gold.

Fairtrade certified sales in 2008 amounted to approximately US$4.08 billion (€2.9) worldwide, a 22% year-to-year increase. While this represents a tiny fraction of world trade in physical merchandise, some fair trade products account for 20-50% of all sales in their product categories. In June 2008, Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International estimated that over 7.5 million producers and their families were benefiting from fair trade funded infrastructure, technical assistance and community development projects.

The response to fair trade has been mixed. Fair trade's increasing popularity has drawn criticism from both ends of the political spectrum. The Adam Smith Institute sees "fair trade" as a type of subsidy or marketing ploy that impedes growth. Segments of the left, such as French author Christian Jacquiau, criticize fair trade for not adequately challenging the current trading system.

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18-08-2010
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And here's some more information about the goals of the "Fair Trade Federation" ... to give you an idea about what they are working towards:

Source: fairtradefederation.org
Quote:
  • Create Opportunities for Economically and Socially Marginalized Producers - Fair Trade is a strategy for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. Members create social and economic opportunities through trading partnerships with marginalized producers. Members place the interests of producers and their communities as the primary concern of their enterprise.
  • Develop Transparent and Accountable Relationships- Fair Trade involves relationships that are open, fair, consistent, and respectful. Members show consideration for both customers and producers by sharing information about the entire trading chain through honest and proactive communication. They create mechanisms to help customers and producers feel actively involved in the trading chain. If problems arise, members work cooperatively with fair trade partners and other organizations to implement solutions.
  • Build Capacity- Fair Trade is a means to develop producers' independence. Members maintain long-term relationships based on solidarity, trust, and mutual respect, so that producers can improve their skills and their access to markets. Members help producers to build capacity through proactive communication, financial and technical assistance, market information, and dialogue. They seek to share lessons learned, to spread best practices, and to strengthen the connections between communities, including among producer groups.
  • Promote Fair Trade- Fair Trade encourages an understanding by all participants of their role in world trade. Members actively raise awareness about Fair Trade and the possibility of greater justice in the global economic system. They encourage customers and producers to ask questions about conventional and alternative supply chains and to make informed choices. Members demonstrate that trade can be a positive force for improving living standards, health, education, the distribution of power, and the environment in the communities with which they work.
  • Pay Promptly and Fairly- Fair Trade empowers producers to set prices within the framework of the true costs of labor time, materials, sustainable growth, and related factors. Members take steps to ensure that producers have the capacity to manage this process. Members comply with or exceed international, national, local, and, where applicable, Fair Trade Minimum standards for their employees and producers. Members seek to ensure that income is distributed equitably at all times, particularly equal pay for equal work by women and men. Members ensure prompt payment to all of their partners. Producers are offered access to interest-free pre-harvest or pre-production advance payment.
  • Support Safe and Empowering Working Conditions - Fair Trade means a safe and healthy working environment free of forced labor. Throughout the trading chain, Members cultivate workplaces that empower people to participate in the decisions that affect them. Members seek to eliminate discrimination based on race, caste, national origin, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, union membership, political affiliation, age, marital, or health status. Members support workplaces free from physical, sexual, psychological, or verbal harassment or abuse.
  • Ensure the Rights of Children - Fair Trade means that all children have the right to security, education, and play. Throughout the trading chain, Members respect and support the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as local laws and social norms. Members disclose the involvement of children in production. Members do not support child trafficking and exploitative child labor.
  • Cultivate Environmental Stewardship - Fair Trade seeks to offer current generations the ability to meet their needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Members actively consider the implications of their decisions on the environment and promote the responsible stewardship of resources. Members reduce, reuse, reclaim, and recycle materials wherever possible. They encourage environmentally sustainable practices throughout the entire trading chain.
  • Respect Cultural Identity - Fair Trade celebrates the cultural diversity of communities, while seeking to create positive and equitable change. Members respect the development of products, practices, and organizational models based on indigenous traditions and techniques to sustain cultures and revitalize traditions. Members balance market needs with producers' cultural heritage.

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25-08-2010
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New interview and video from People Tree about Emma Watson's visit to Bangladesh:

Quote:
Safia Minney interviews Emma Watson as they visit the women at Swallows, one of People Tree's Fair Trade partners in Bangladesh.

SAFIA MINNEY What has been your experience of Bangladesh?

EMMA WATSON I wasn't sure what to expect when we arrived in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. I was expecting it to ber very busy, and hot, but the first thing that really struck me was the noise, and the traffic!

Our journey from the airpoort was unlike anything I have ever experienced: no one sticks to the lanes; everyone constantly beeps their horns and generally ignores traffic lights! Soon after arriving we visited the slums in Dhaka where the garment factory workers live.

Again, I had some preconceived ideas but nothing prepared me for the reality. It was upsetting to see the conditions in which these people live, but I was incredibly moved by their spirit and friendliness in spite of such apparent adversity.

SAFIA I guess one of the reasons why these workers in Bangladesh have been protesting for a living wage is because of their appalling living conditions in the slumns. Can you describe what facilities people have there?

EMMA Facilities? There are no facilities there to speak of. In the building we visited, I saw one shhower, one cleaning place and one hole in the floor which was the toilet. This was for the whole floor.

That floor had maybe eight or nine rooms coming off it, and each room housed a whole family, that is 32 people to one toilet.

SAFIA Their minimum wage is 1,62 taka - so that's about £6 per week. They're campaigning for around three times that much.

EMMA Even though the cost of living is much less in Bangladesh than the UK, £6 a week is appaling, especially considering the hours that they are working. They seem to work around the clock and still do not have enough money to buy food to feeed their family, or live any kind of life at all.
I really do hope that they achieve their goal of �18 a week. If they can, it would be life changing for them.

SAFIA You then went on to meet Amin Amirul, president of the national Garment Workers Federation which People Tree has been supporting for over 10 years.

EMMA It was an honour to meet Amin. Seeing his office and what he does with so little, I felt like it was him against the world. What he tries to achieve just seems so enormous.

He is so determined and he is not going to give up until the lives of the garment factory workers have been improved. He was a very compelling speaker.

SAFIA You also visited Swallows, the women's project in Thanapara, Bangladesh and one of our producers to see some of the work we are doing and to see the difference Fair Trade makes.

At Swallows we work to employ as many women as possible so that they can support their families and build a healthy community. What was it like seeing all those different processes of making clothes by hand?

EMMA I always find it difficult to impress on people what 'handmade' really means. To make a simple garment they have to produce the yarn, hand-dye the yarn, get it onto the loom, then weave the fabric, cut it to the pattern, sew it into the garment and then embroider it - all by hand.

It is so hard for people to imagine what it takes to create something and how special that item of clothing is.

SAFIA What would you say to people who are like 'we're in the 21st century so why make it by hand today - why not make it by machine?'

EMMA Having seen the slums in Dhaka and the conditions in which these people live and work to produce 'fast fashion', I would say to those people that this is not the way we should be making clothes in the modern world.
These workers have no rights and work every hour of the day just to feed their families. Fair Trade gives families the option to stay together, rather than one or both parents having to move to cities, and they are paid a fair wage. It empowers people and doesn't take away their dignity.

SAFIA Can you imagine yourself, born to a Bangladesh family and working in a garment factory?

EMMA I cannot imagine how I would have the mental ability and strength to go into the garment factories in the slums everyday and have my children living six hundred miles away.

We interviewed a woman in the slum in Dhaka. She was very candid about the fact that there just 6 wasn't any hope for her. There is no hope for anyone living in those conditions and being paid that kind of wage. Coming to Swallows I see that there is an alternative.

The living conditions are modest but it's clean and there is a real sense of community, their families are together and they seem to love and be proud of what they are doing - many things that we in the West take for granted.

Swallows is special and I need to believe for my own peace of mind that there will be more places like this in the developing countries in the world.

SAFIA People Tree does work with 50 other producer groups in Bangladesh, India, Kenya, and Peru that are making that difference. What kind of message do you want to bring to people your age now you have seen it?

EMMA I don't know how to impress upon people the importance of Fair Trade. It is so hard to get people to care and to realise what a huge difference Fair Trade can make to someone's life.

If, when buying an item, whatever it may be, people have the choice to buy Fair Trade or non Fair Trade, they should buy the Fair Trade item. It really does make all the difference - the contrast between Swallows and the slums in Dhaka is testimony to that.

SAFIA You've looked at different areas of Swallows' production, but as well as that you've seen the Swallows' day care centre for 60 children, from about 3 months to 5 years old. Then from 5 until 12 there is the school for 300 children. And it's not just for the children of the women who work here but also for children in the wider community.

EMMA It's fantastic what you've been able to do. Not only do these women have jobs, but they're earning the same amount as men - there is gender equality, they are empowered. They're able to support and look after themselves, and live in dignity.

Then there is the fact that you're running this day care centre, and also a domestic violence program for the women who are being abused at than giving to charity, I think, as you're essentially giving these people the opportunity to help themselves out of poverty and that's all they really want.

I've been given a lot in my life and I have had so many fantastic opportunities. It's really important to me that I try to give something back. I wanted to find the right thing and working with People Tree is so special and rewarding and the best way I can do that at the moment.
I really believe in Fair Trade and I just want to see more of it in the world. I need to know there are more places like Swallows.




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Last edited by sobriquet87; 25-08-2010 at 07:18 PM.
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25-08-2010
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Also, New pictures of Emma modeling the new Fall People Tree line:




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25-08-2010
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^ Thanks so much for sharing the interview with Emma Watson and the pictures. I loved her in Harry Potter and once her line for People Tree came out it made me like her even more. In this interview its great to see how passionate Watson is about this issue, it makes me hope that more young adults like Watson (and myself) will be the generation to change these conditions from slums to places like Swallows.

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30-08-2010
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i did not know that the people tree items are "handmade" i thought they were machine made by people paid a few times the prevailing wage.

thanks for the post. i learn something new every day here.

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23-09-2010
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Here's a new interview from People Tree. Emma Watson is being interviewed by People Tree director, Safia Minney. It's a very moving interview that really educates people who are unfamiliar with why Fair Trade fashion is so important.



It's really sad that these workers have to live in these conditions when they work SO hard. All people have to do to help them is buy the clothes that they work so hard to make. Like Emma said, who wouldn't want to own a piece of clothing that special??

It's definitely a cause I support and I really admire Emma for bringing attention to it.


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05-10-2010
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Well i think that a big part of a "fair fashion" is also to make it "closer" from buyers. I mean, everybody in hte world wanna buy D&G clothes. Something good would be a local production : it will reduce transport and, indeed, pollution, and be a good solution for Labour world troubles we know. but maybe it's a bit utopist...
i'm also afraid that brands abuse of "fair" trade in order to increase their profits. I'd like to know how much of the price will go to ppl who make clothes by their hands, especially in china...

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21-02-2011
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The Adam Smith Institute prepared a report a few years ago suggesting that Fare Trade damages the people it claims to help by making them reliant on the subsidies generated by the high prices that people are charged for these products.

Obviously I am not in favour of "sweat shop" labour but there is always the law of unintended consequences to think of.

Here is a quote from prof Michael Munger;

"Fair trade" raises costs to consumers. Worse, it enslaves the people it claims to help, with the invisible chains of artificial subsidy, and arrested economic development.

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21-02-2011
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^ Enslaves, my a$$. That's right, we should leave everyone right where they are, unemployed, starving, uneducated, because that is, what, natural?!?! I'd like for these think tank a$$holes to go live in this natural, unenslaved, unarrested manner for a few years, and then let's talk (assuming they make it out alive, that is).

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22-02-2011
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here is an example of an ethical company in the US employing americans with a wage above minimum wage and free childcare. it looks like it might expand rapidly.

A fine weave of family, work

Lowell firm’s mission: jobs, day care for single mothers



On a small factory floor in Lowell,Tameria Lanier is stitching together a new life.



For the first time in three years, Lanier has a full-time job, an apartment, and someone to look after her two young boys when she is at work. The 23-year-old single mother has rekindled dreams of becoming a fashion designer.

Lanier credits her turnaround largely to her new employer, a start-up clothing factory called MoJo. The business pays workers over $10 an hour, provides health care and career training, and — most important for a single mother — covers the entire cost of child care.

MoJo, short for Moms and Jobs, is no big-government spending project or private charity. It’s a for-profit company that sells apparel to campuses, corporations, and consumers with a stated goal to improve the lives of single mothers, who are disproportionately represented among the poor.

MoJo’s business model: Do well by doing good.

MoJo, which has been operating for six months, expects to generate $3.7 million in sales in its first full year of business. The company has already scored contracts to produce jackets for Fortune 500 businesses like Accenture and Morgan Stanley, college fleeces for Big East schools, such as Syracuse, and blankets for the Dave Matthews Band and other musicians under the Red Light Management music label.

These deals mean success for more than just the company.

“It feels good that I can manage it on my own,’’ said Lanier, who last had a job in 2007 and spent several months last year living in a homeless shelter.

By the end of the year, MoJo hopes to open factories in struggling cities beyond Lowell, which was once a thriving textile center. The company plans to bring its model of manufacturing across the country to Detroit, Oakland, and New Orleans, cities where nearly half of single-mother households live below the poverty line. MoJo has already contacted two factories in Fall River. Its main condition is that the operators abide by MoJo’s model, such as paying more than minimum wage and covering child-care expenses, which can cost around $40 a day per child.

“We thought that perhaps we could launch a sustainable, for-profit company to attack the root causes and see if we could be successful at building a really big company,’’ said Tom Aley, who cofounded MoJo with his twin brother, Darr Aley, after selling their Maynard software company.

“If we could deliver child-care coverage plus career services and provide a steppingstone for people on or near the welfare line, perhaps we could help provide a more sustainable livelihood and perhaps a chance at a new career. And a better opportunity for the children.’’

It is an approach to business that some analysts suggest might help redefine capitalism by connecting company success with social progress.

Other entrepreneurs have started businesses in recent years with the aim of generating profits and using the proceeds to address social problems. For every pair of sneakers it sells, Santa Monica, Calif.-based Toms Shoes donates another pair to children in developing countries to combat diseases transmitted by bare feet. Two Degrees, a San Francisco health food company with an office in Boston, sends a nutrition pack to a hungry child abroad for every nutrition bar it sells.

Harvard Business School professor Michael E. Porter, in his recent front-page report in Harvard Business Review, wrote that a change is clearly needed in the current economic recovery, in which rising corporate profits have done little to offset high unemployment, local business distress, and severe pressures on community services.

MoJo executives are quick to note that although they encourage single mothers to apply for jobs, they do not discriminate in their hiring practices. Cara Aley — Tom and Darr’s sister, and MoJo’s chief operating officer — said men work at all levels of the organization. The company has 21 employees, including 16 women, and the company expects its staff to grow to 160 by the end of the year. In Lowell, MoJo works with social service agencies to recruit prospective employees, offer them sewing training programs, and find them child care.

“We simply think that as a private business with a social conscience, we can go the extra step to ensure that single mothers have an option,’’ Cara Aley said.

Felicia Crawson needed that option. The 25-year-old single mother received an associate’s degree in fashion design but her career plan was derailed after she had two children.

MoJo has allowed Crawson to give up her job working the 4 p.m.-to-10 p.m. shift at UPS, where she made about $11 an hour loading trucks and sorting packages — hours she had taken because she was able to find someone to watch her two daughters for free.

“I couldn’t afford day care,’’ said Crawson, who in just six months has worked her way up to MoJo’s operations supervisor and now earns $14 an hour. “I have a lot of friends who are single parents and they are jealous.’’

The Aleys say the seeds for MoJo were probably planted decades ago, when their mother struggled to raise their younger siblings after a divorce. Tom Aley — a father of three — said the more recent inspiration came from research he did to better understand the causes of homelessness, especially among children.

Aley said he realized single moms who earn minimum wage are often trapped in a cycle of poverty because they do not make enough money to pay for child care. Many barely scrape by or give up jobs to stay at home with their children.


To make MoJo happen, the Aleys have put a lot on the line. The brothers are not taking salaries, and are spending thousands of dollars of their own money each month to help run the company. But they do not intend to make MoJo their personal charity. The brothers, who are using funds from the sale of their software company, are trying to raise more capital from other socially minded investors and plan to hire a chief executive to oversee operations.

By the end of the year, they expect MoJo to break even.

The benefits that MoJo provides its employees come at a cost: Prices for MoJo products are slightly higher in some cases, compared to similar apparel. But Darr Aley said he hopes companies and consumers are willing to pay a little more to support a domestic manufacturer that offers workers fair wages and quality benefits.

“Give America back its mojo, if you will,’’ he said.

MoJo has been embraced on university campuses, where students have protested the use of overseas sweatshops to produce collegiate apparel. The company’s approach also appeals to major corporations that seek to contribute to society — and improve their reputations.

MoJo’s products are made from premium fabrics, like Polartec fleece, and include large tags that promote the brand. On college campuses, the company has displays and posters marketing the mission of MoJo with its merchandise.

Staples Inc., the office-supply giant, is one company that sees the value of MoJo. The Framingham-based retailer sells apparel with corporate logos to companies around the world, including more than 40 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies. The majority of the clothing it sells is produced overseas, but after visiting MoJo’s Lowell factory, Staples decided to offer MoJo products, which are about 20 percent more expensive, compared to the imported apparel.

“It’s a little more money than the other apparel but it’s a more quality product,’’ said Rich Witaszak, general manager for Staples Advantage’s promotional products business.

The MoJo concept has also caught the attention of several leading musicians, who will be featuring MoJo products during their summer tours, said Bruce Flohr, an executive at Red Light Management, which represents over 100 musical acts, including Dave Matthews Band, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, and Ben Harper. Some celebrities will design signature products exclusively for MoJo, he said, adding that it is too early to provide details.

“Everyone is out there trying to make tours green and do good things. MoJo digs down to the level of fixing a problem and giving people back their dignity,’’ Flohr said.


(boston.com)

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