Shopping is a great American pastime that even those on a tight budget can manage to enjoy every now and again. Fortunately, more consumers are participating in ethical shopping, better known as fair trade. This trend of shopping continues to do the world of good.
Fair trade products promote international equality. These products are made by individuals who worked under safe conditions and were fairly compensated for their labor. Fair trade helps improve the quality of life in developing communities, especially for poor women and children. According to Fair Trade USA, 1.2 million farmers and their families are supported by fair trade products in 70 countries around the world. Some common fair trade products include: coffee, chocolate, tea, sugar, jewelry, and various apparel.
Fair Trade USA says the concept of fair trade first appeared in America in the 1940s. Since then smaller chains have started selling fair trade products exclusively. It has not been until recently that bigger chains started adding ethically-made items to their stores. Walmart, for instance, is selling fair trade coffee and aspires to have 500 other fair trade products available in their stores by 2016. And Target sells fair trade coffee, soaps, honey, scarves, jewelry, and tote bags online.
Are you ready to give fair trade products a try?
Here are three tips to help you get started:
- Stamp of approval. Before buying a product that claims to be fair trade do your research. Look up who made the products and who are receiving the funds. Most products are certified which guarantees that the products are benefiting others. To make sure you’re not being scammed look for the Fair Trade USA stamp of approval.
- Exclusive stores. There are plenty of websites and stores that sale fair trade items exclusively. For instance, the Ten Thousand Villages store sales fair trade products in over 70 branches. If you are looking for a store near you try the Fair Trade Federation website.
- Fair trade apps. For those that are tech-savvy there is also a new Mindful App® called Fair Trade Finder. This app helps you find fair trade products near your home with a touch of your smartphone.