Fair Trade has come a long way! After years and years of hard work by dedicated people and organizations, we can now see more evidence of the positive results this movement has brought: countless producers around the world are lifting themselves out of poverty while U.S. consumers now have the opportunity to choose products that make a difference.
I still remember hearing years ago about an occasional church event, where handmade products from foreign countries were offered for sale. Back then, the quality and selection of these products did not always meet consumers’ expectations. Thankfully, that has all changed. I’m amazed at the scope of product categories with the Fair Trade label at our disposal today, from coffee and chocolate, to wine, to jewelry, to personal care, accessories and clothing.
Speaking of clothing, the world of fashion is also changing. Some celebrities are now talking about and promoting manufacturing practices that meet ideal social and sustainable standards.
At the top of this list of celebrities is Emma Watson. Feel Good Style, a site dedicated to sustainable fashion and natural beauty, wrote about a recent interview with this celebrated actress.
Emma's personal values focus firmly on concepts such as Fair Trade. The article goes on to say that “she is helping to transform sustainable style from within the hallowed halls of fashion.”
You can read the entire article here.
Another celebrity that’s making news is Alicia Silverstone.
This photo, courtesy of Fair Trade Certified, shows some of Alicia’s favorite Fair Trade gifts to spread love.
While this post talks about Valentine’s Day specifically, you should check out her blog, The Kind Life, and see many other product categories that are now on shelves at retailers nationwide.
Green Mountain Coffee took this world acclaimed artist and American Idol winner to a coffee-growing community in Peru. Her goal was to learn all the good Fair Trade doe
Referring to her experience, Kelly said this:
“I was given a chance to succeed, and Fair Trade gives coffee farmers their chance to succeed. It gives them a fair price for their coffee, so they can help their families and invest in their communities.”
Speaking of coffee, guess who recently became a Fair Trade Coffee Entrepreneur? Would it surprise you to learn it is Hugh Jackman? The movie star is finding ways to get small coffee producers good prices outside the monolithic coffee world. In this article, he talks about how he got involved with coffee growers in Ethiopia.
“We were not starting a charity. We were in the coffee business. I needed to start a business that could partner with farmers in order to gain access to markets. Where no infrastructure existed, I had to find a way to create it through distribution and cafes in New York that would introduce Fair Trade coffee by these farmers directly to consumers."
Jackman founded Laughing Man Worldwide, a business inspired by coffee growers. The company reinvests 100% of its profits in its partnerships with farmers. Laughing Man Worldwide approaches farmers as equals in pursuit of a shared dream.
"Working together, we learn from each other, and slowly we begin to redefine what it means to do business and what it means to be happy."
Not long ago, I came across an interesting article on Vogue News titled "How The World Has Changed Since Rana Plaza". The basic premise revolves around the aftermath of the garment factory in Bangladesh. It is yet another piece that highlights the involvement more celebrities have in the dangerous practices of the manufacturing industry.Cate Blanchett has voiced her concerns about Fair Trade in general, and fashion manufacturing in particular.
Cate feels garment manufacturing demands the same attention as climate change.
"If you offer options then it's not sacrifice, it's choice," she says. "As well as the fundamental improvement to our spiritual health, buying with conscience is about the option to buy something for £1 that has the potential to blind 15 children as a result of an inhumane production line - or something else for £1.50 that will have a positive effect. Like climate change - we need to change the way we consume fashion. And if more individuals do then we make a change collectively."
It is refreshing to see that some popular stars -heavy consumers of fashion themselves- are beginning to understand the importance of socially conscious production of goods.
Just as Emma Watson is making headlines for her support of Fair Trade, we hope this terrible disaster in Bangladesh will get people talking about change.
If we don't start asking about the producers )and the conditions they work in) before we buy what we wear and use every day, we fear not much will change.
Read the entire article here
What celebrities do you know who support and promote Fair Trade? Share their stories below. We'd love to hear from you.
As always, thank you for choosing Fair Trade!