Fair Trade Parenting
I’m trying to post more information about ethical and ecological parenting, you might also want to check out my article on Organic cotton. In 2008, an independent panel of experts declared that Wales was the very first Fairtrade Nation in the world and it was followed afterwards by Scotland. The UK really is leading the way towards fair, sustainable and ethical trade practices and that’s something to be proud of – but what does it really mean?
What is Fair TradeFair Trade is a movement dedicated to ensuring that the actual workers and growers receive a fair wage and fair working conditions. This ensures that the money you spend goes directly to the people who worked to bring you a product and then into the local communities in disadvantaged countries that are often taken advantage of by large companies. The promise is that a minimum fair price for the product will be given, allowing these workers to plan for a future and have an element of security in their lives. It also guarantees safe and fair working conditions, environmentally responsible and sustainable production methods and it guarantees that women have a voice. When you see the Fairtrade mark on an item then you know it meets these guidelines.
Fair Trade ParentingIt’s not easy when you’re a parent just trying to juggle work and home life on a budget. Fairtrade can cost more and for many families, mine included, every penny is important and we have to make careful purchasing decisions. Sometimes though it really is possible to switch to a fairer product without breaking the bank. It can be as simple as switching which coffee shop you buy your morning brew from to one that uses Fairtrade coffee, or buying that bouquet of birthday flowers from a supermarket that sources them from fairtrade. The thing with Fairtrade is you don’t have to go all or nothing. It really is a case of every little helps. So if you see just one thing a year that you can swap to Fairtrade, then you’ve made a difference. It’s not all about money either, Fair Trade Wales says that “Young people are the key to fair trade becoming part of our normal shopping habit and for solidifying fairness in trade.” By educating our children we are making fair trade seem like a normal and expected part of life. This raises awareness across the country, and with schools, colleges and universities on board, educating this generation makes it easier for future generations too. For me, I wasn’t raised with any awareness of fair trade and never gave it much thought. For my son, I’d like it to seem natural to him and be an integrated part of his life. By chatting to schools and encouraging our kids to take part in fairtrade activities, we’re making a difference.
What can I buy that makes a difference?
- Bananas – The Co-operative, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose all sell 100% Fairtrade bananas.
- Chocolate – Cadbury, Divine, Green & Black’s, M&S, Sainsbury’s Taste the difference, The Co-operative & Waitrose are just some companies meeting the Fairtrade Guidelines.
- Gold – When buying a special piece of jewelry, ask if Fairtrade Certified Gold is available. Gold mining is a hard and dangerous job, where small-scale mining receives little of the big profits at the end.
- Beauty Products – Boots Extracts contains Fairtrade ingredients, and you can find smaller independent suppliers selling fairtrade, vegan and organic beauty products.
- Coffee – A lot of supermarkets and coffee shops sell Fairtrade coffee, so look out for the stamp or ask before you order.
- Cotton – The cotton industry is one of the most exploitative and environmentally damaging ones in the world. I’m going to talk a little more about Fair Trade Cotton below.
- Flowers – Interflora, Arena Flowers, M&S, Moonpig, Sainsbury’s, Serenata Flowers & The Co-operative offer Fairtrade flowers. You can still buy supermarket flowers and support fair trade!
- Sugar – The Co-operative, Sainsbury’s, Steenberg’s, Tate & Lyle, Traidcraft and Waitrose offer fairtrade sugar options, giving £5 million back to sugar farmers a year.
- Tea – The co-operative, Clipper, Cafedirect, M&S, Sainbury’s, Steenbergs & The London Tea Company offer fairtrade tea. Even Tesco’s Finest Black Tea is now Fairtrade Certified.